In a strongly worded notice issued to the Chairman of the upper house of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha, three members of parliament of the CPI-M have demanded that the Modi.2 government take the Indian Parliament over its moves in the conflict ridden state of Jammu and Kashmir. Since August 2, when thousands of troops were moved into the Valley, the Amarnath yatra called off, students from central institutes advised to ‘go back’ and tourist advisories issued a veil of secrecy has hung around the moves of the Centre. The CPM has moved for a suspension of Rajya Sabha notice over Kashmir under Rule 267.
Image Courtesy: AFP
The Centre has now even suspended internet connections in the Valley and also put senior opposition leaders under house arrest. Late on Sunday night, the Indian Express reported that senior leaders and former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were placed under house arrest as was Yusuf Tarigami, lone MLA of the CPI-M from Kulgam. Across the board, the moves by the Centre have been seriously questioned for the autocratic ones they are.
The Cabinet of Ministers of the government of India is scheduled to meet this morning and address the country at 11 a.m. The greatest concern has been speculation over the Modi government using backdoor methods to abbrogate Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution. These foundational structures in law are key to maintaining the delicate balance between the Valley and Delhi. Speculation over modifications of Article 35A, which confers special rights to the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir have been rife over the week end.
The options include creating categories of land and allowing outsiders to purchase land in certain cases, and placing restrictions on the quantum of land based on the usage. To curtail misuse, they said, Article 35A can borrow from land laws in hilly states such as Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
The secretive, and many would say undemocratic moves of the Central government have drawn sharp criticisms. They have also led to heightened sense of panic and rumour mongering in the Valley. Demanding that the Parliament which is in session be taken into confidence, the CPI-M has issued this notice through three of its MPs, KK Rajesh, Elamaram Kareem and K Somaprasad.
The notice issued by the CPI-M in the Rajya Sabha may be read here:
Meanwhile a late night message by human rights defender, Khurram Pervez of the Association of Disappeared Persons (APDP) says it all:
” Last few days have been chaotic in Kashmir. No major violence but a lot of deliberate rumours by government. Additional armed forces (atleast 35000 in addition to 650,000 armed forces and police personnel) have been brought to Kashmir.
“Finally what appears is that there will be curfew imposed by midnight today. Internet will be completely shut, perhaps phones too. All this is being done, for government of India to abrogate article 35A, which will technically mean Indians can purchase property in Kashmir and become citizens of Kashmir.
“The Indian government thinks demographic changes will solve the conflict in Kashmir. This change apparently will be brought through Parliament but on ground in Kashmir only through gun point. They have silenced all political groups, gagged media and scared civil society. The government is well prepared to deal with protest and forces have been ordered to not negotiate with the protesters – just shoot.
“It is clear that there will be violence, but I hope and pray people remain peaceful and that we in Kashmir do not loose anything more than these constitutional guarantees. The largest democracy is able to do all this because of the international silence. Sending this message to all of you before the internet and phone is shutdown.”
Most astonishing of all the moves by the Centre was the abrupt cancellation of the Amarnath Yatra, citing a terrorist threat emanating from Pakistan, and the swift evacuation of tourists and pilgrims from the Valley. Shockingly, the order asking Amarnath yatris them to leave (without reasons being given) did not address the apprehensions of the people of Kashmir, thus conveying the crude and brute message that the government was not concerned about them, even as they rushed to petrol pumps and ATMs to stock up.
These latest secretive actions of the Modi government are even more stark given that, only weeks earlier, officials had been eager to project the situation in the Valley and at the LoC as much improved, with cross-border infiltration having come down drastically.
Last June, the Centre had similarly simply toppled the elected government by withdrawing support from the coalition and imposed President’s Rule in the state. Its over a year and elections have not been held. At the time, speaking to Sabrangindia, Tarigami of the CPi-M had been scathing:
Excerpts from the Video Interview (June 2018)
- With the Amarath Yatra set to begin on June 28, we had expected (wrongly) that the BJP would wait at least two three months before taking this step, in the larger interests of the people of the state, the yatris. We expected this out of respect for the Yatris. But they are concerned only about narrow political consdirations
- It is the tradition of the Kashmiris to lend a hand and support to the Yatris and we are sure this will continue but the overall atmosphere of tension and fear cannot help
- The decision to end the alliance is meant to help their campaign for the 2019 elections since the state government has no favourable record to show
- Jammu and Kashmir is headed for troubled times. This government, with separate agendas of the two alliance partners before the elections came together in such an opportunistic way after the election results and has a poor performance.
- Kashmir is bleeding, on fire, needs now more than ever the understanding, love and affection of the people of India