Oppn parties to hold peaceful protest in Jammu on Oct 10: Farooq

Leaders of opposition parties during a meeting at Jammu on Tuesday. -Excelsior /Rakesh
Leaders of opposition parties during a meeting at Jammu on Tuesday. -Excelsior /Rakesh

‘Govt depriving people of Constitutional rights’

Avtar Bhat

JAMMU, Oct 3: Leaders of various opposition parties who met here today under the chairmanship of National Conference (NC) president and former Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah unanimously decided to hold a peaceful protest against the BJP Government in Jammu on October 10.
NC chief Dr Farooq Abdullah briefing media persons after the meeting said that several opposition parties which met here today have decided to hold a peaceful protest in Jammu on October 10 against what he termed “snatching of Constitutional rights of the people of J&K.”

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He said the protest will be our first step and future programme will be intimated later. He added that the opposition parties will approach Divisional Commissioner, Jammu and submit a letter to him for permission of holding a peaceful protest on October 10 said they and are hopeful that the administration will accord the permission.
Besides, NC’s Dr Farooq Abdullah, the PDP chief and former Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, Congress president, Vikar Rasool and former Minister Raman Bhalla, CPI (M) senior leader and former MLA, Mohammed Yousf Tarigami, former Minister, Harsh Dev Singh, Dogra Sadar Sabha chief and former Minister, Gulchain Singh Charak and Awami National Conference (ANC) senior vice president, Muzaffar Shah were among the prominent leaders who attended the meeting.
The meeting also constituted a five member Committee for coordination with the partners of opposition alliance and chalking out of future strategy with Congress spokesperson and former MLC Ravinder Sharma, NC provincial president, Rattan Lal Gupta, former Minister, Harsh Dev Singh, I D Soni of IDP and Hari Singh of CPI as its members.
The opposition parties have also decided to approach INDIA Alliance and it will be requested to hold meeting in Jammu. NC president, Dr Farooq Abdullah has been asked to approach the INDIA Alliance leaders in this regard by the opposition parties in today’s meeting.
Dr Abdullah, while criticising the Government of snatching Constitutional rights of the people in J&K asked what is the rationale behind not holding the elections in the UT ?
“While holding G-20 meet the Government claims that the situation is good and when it comes to holding of elections they say that the situation is not conducive,” he said. He, while quoting Excelsior News said Home Minister, Amit Shah claimed that after 370 abrogation situation is better in J&K then why they don’t hold elections.
Dr Abdullah said when Government has promised Panchayat, Municipality and DDC elections why the decision was changed overnight. “For holding of G-20 meet the situation is conducive but it is not good for holding of Assembly elections”, he added.
The former Chief Minister said that when they met the Election Commissioner he said that there is vacuum in J&K and for that the elections are must but why don’t they hold elections to end this vacuum?, he asked.
Abdullah claimed that the Constitution has been “suspended and the democratic rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir were under attack.”
When asked whether the Democratic Progressive Azad Party led by Ghulam Nabi Azad and the Apni Party headed by Altaf Bukhari were invited to the meeting, the National Conference president replied, “They are Government parties.”
“They (Government) first talked of completing the delimitation process and then of voter list before holding elections. Both the exercises are complete. So what is pending now for which they are delaying the elections?” Dr Abdullah asked.
Following the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution in 2019, the Central Government has now claimed improvement in the situation while the Lieutenant Governor is saying that Jammu and Kashmir is marching on the path of development, he said.
In response to a question on Article 370, Dr Abdullah said that the matter is under the purview of Supreme Court and it is subjudice.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said the meeting condemned the raids by the Delhi Police’s Special Cell at the residences of News Click journalists.
“In this Amrit Kaal, speaking the truth has become the biggest sin. The one who tells the truth and questions this Government over unemployment, inflation and rapes are slapped with the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,” she added.
“This was initially done against journalists in Jammu and Kashmir, but now it has become a norm across the country,” she said and asked the Editors Guild of India to take cognisance of such developments.
CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami, who attended the opposition parties’ meeting, said they held a detailed discussion on the emerging situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the problems being faced by all sections of the society in the Union Territory.
He said that depriving the people of electing a Government of their choice was tantamount to suspension of their Constitutional and democratic rights. The country got the Constitution after long drawn freedom struggle and sacrifices and they are depriving the people of it, he added.
“This Government has deprived the people of their Constitutional rights which are akin to anti-nationalism. It is a loss to the nation, its history and our future,” Tarigami said, adding that former Chief Ministers, Ministers, ex-MLAs and MPs will come together in Jammu on October 10 to defend the Constitution and the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Through the agitation, the protesters will send a message to the people of the country that they have lost hope of getting justice. But “we still have hope from crores of the people of India who will understand our pain and stand with us for our rights at this crucial juncture”, he said.
“The Constitution is suspended in Jammu and Kashmir which is not an ordinary thing… We want to appeal to the countrymen that they (BJP) are talking about integrating Jammu and Kashmir but the reality is that this Government has separated us from the Constitutional order,” the Left leader alleged.
He said the opposition parties have asked Dr Abdullah to talk to leaders of INDIA Alliance to hold a meeting in Jammu in near future.
PDP general secretary, Amreek Singh Reen, Congress working president, Raman Bhalla and Jammu and Kashmir Shiv Sena (UBT) president, Manish Sahni, National Conference provincial president, Jammu, Rattan Lal Gupta, party MP Hasnain Masoodi, former MP Sheikh Abdul Rehman and Mission Statehood president, Sunil Dimple were present at the meeting.
Representatives of various other parties, including the CPI, Akali Dal (Amritsar) and the Internationalist Democratic Party also attended the meeting.
Earlier, talking to media, ANC’s Muzaffar Shah said that the Constitutional rights have been denied to the people. He said that the opposition parties will deliberate over various issues confronting the people of J&K. The Government has no mandate to take major decisions which it is taking, he added.
He said postponing the elections will also be discussed in the meeting while Shiv Sena president Munish Sawhney termed the situation in J&K totally bad. He said people’s problems have multiplied during the present Government.