The Samajwadi Jan Parishad (SJP) has issued a strong and calibrated statement on the state of affairs following the abrogation of Article 270. The text of the statement may be read here:
The BJP led NDA government has abrogated Article 370 of Indian Constitution on August 5, thereby annulling many prominent constitutional provisions. Simultaneously the central government has divided the state in two Union Territories, a major down gradation from the status of ‘State with special powers’.
In one stroke, the central government got three proposals cleared by Parliament. One of them empowers President of India to exercise the powers of Constituent Assembly of Kashmir in its absence. In one of its judgements last year, the Supreme Court of India had ruled that only Kashmir Constituent Assembly has the right to abrogate article 370. Once the Constituent Assembly of Kashmir was dissolved in 1957, this provision could be reconsidered only by forming another Constituent Assembly. BJP modified the Constitution itself for bypass this provision.
In order to fulfil its communal agenda, the government has not only taken away the status of state but also bifurcated it into two Union Territories. To suppress the expected large scale public protests against these heinous moves, authorities deployed a record number of 50,000 security forces and suspended all types of communication links. A virtual curfew has been imposed on entire valley. The government is propagating to have corrected the historical mistake in context of Kashmir and claims that peace and tranquillity will be restored in this strife and terrorism affected region once for all.
However when we assess this move of BJP in the background of their ideology and character and the need to maintain sanctity of constitution, democratic uprightness and rule of law, we will realise that these steps have been taken by BJP-NDA government in contravention of the basic principles of constitution, by throttling the democratic rights of people and ignoring the facets of federalism and pluralism. Rather imposing unilateral communal Hindutva agenda is the only motive behind this sinister move. The fact that opinion of citizens of Jammu and Kashmir has been blatantly ignored in the entire process, (a promise made to them at the time of accession), is yet another proof of a well thought of conspiracy of BJP.
To justify its anti-democratic and unethical act, Home Minister had the gumption of even mis-quoting late Ram Manohar Lohia out of context regarding his opposition to Article 370. Even one Congress leader supported this statement. We strongly condemn this uncivilised behaviour by senior national leaders. Dr Lohia always advocated for a India-Pakistan Mahasangh where the free transit of its citizens could be possible across boundaries.
The Samajwadi Jan Parishad believes that this government is supressing popular sentiments in Jammu-Kashmir, like it has done in rest of the country. Earlier, the Congress government had dislodged Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah (who was elected with a huge majority) in 1953 and kept him in prison for twenty long years, side-lining the provisions of Constitution of Kashmir. Later, the Congress 'organised' a largely rigged election and subverted democracy in this state. The present BJP government has gone several steps further to strike a major blow to the communal harmony of the region.Its noteworthy that one of the general secretaries of Congress has supported this move of BJP and this party too is largely silent in this regard.
The SJP believes that governments at the centre as well as of state, including NC and PDP, have no political will to solve this long pending issue. Although the NC has been against partition of India since beginning and they played a major role in maintaining communal harmony in this region, they too could not address other developmental requirements of people at large. If NC and PDP had addressed the welfare issues during these decades, the academic, economic, political and social conditions of the state would have been much better. But their role also remained irresponsible like that of other national parties.
The BJP-RSS is using this situation to their advantage by inciting communalism and hatred in entire country. SJP strongly condemns this fraud and unconstitutional as well as irrational attitude of central government.
The SJP believes in federalism in letter and spirit and advocates for unquestionable individual and community rights of local residents on the natural resources. This has been a governing principle of SJP in the context of autonomy and local self-governance of states including Jammu and Kashmir. Even for public utility purposes if land, forest, minerals or water resources have to be acquired, the same should be only with the consent of local democratic bodies i.e. Gram Sabha, Panchayat, Jila Parishad etc.
The methods deployed by this government to enact these sweeping changes in J&K are a litmus test. If they succeed this time, they will deploy similar methods to usurp the special provisions in tribal areas and other states enjoying special status. Opposition ruled state governments will also be targeted, their constitutional rights will be suspended and dictatorial system may be imposed. Assuming the rights of a dissolved legislative assembly as vested in Governor is undemocratic, unconstitutional and dictatorial hence not acceptable.
SJP has always been in favour of diplomatic initiative for resolving Kashmir problem. This has to be done with due concern for sensitivity of all dimensions and due diligence of international aspects in the matter. A larger involvement of all sections of Indian society is imperative for peaceful coexistence in South Asia which will include Bangladesh, Kashmir and Pakistan.
However the way changes have been made now under the barrel of gun, SJP vehemently opposes this act. This is a well-planned attack of Central Govt on the federal structure of the nation. This step will further embolden Kashmiri separatists. Deciding about the future of a community without any consultation with them is outright undemocratic and dictatorial.
In addition to capture of POK, China has also taken control of our very large area, 33,000 sq. km. land in Aksai Chin. Central Govt has not even issued a statement about this aspect. Govt has also not protested against Chinese statement against Laddakh being carved out as an UT which should have been done immediately.
Demands of SJP
For Immediate action -
- All provisions with respect to Kashmir should be restored as of prior to August 5, 2019
- State Assembly elections in Jammu & Kashmir be conducted immediately and popular elected govt. be installed
- Arrest of two ex-CMs is highly condemnable. These leaders and all politicians must be released forthwith
- A High-level constitutional enquiry be constituted against recent actions of government
- Any decision about Article 370 should be made in consultation with the locals and after forming a Constituent Assembly
Long Term -
-A permanent solution should be explored by resuming talks with Pakistan
- Conducive atmosphere should be created for working in the direction of an India-Pakistan-Bangladesh Mahasangh
- Efforts must be made to reclaim Aksai-Chin area from China
- Constitutional right to downgrade a state to UT should be withdrawn from Central Govt.
- Second Centre-State Commission be constituted to redefine Centre-State relations from federal perspective