Peaceniks suggest Govt to release all political prisoners in J&K, initiate dialogue process

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, July 31: Alleging that Jammu and Kashmir continues to be in social, political and communication lockdown since August 5, 2019, the Concerned Citizens Group- a team of peaceniks has suggested the Central Government to release political prisoners and lift all curbs on political activities besides initiating a multi-level dialogue process with those affected by the August 5 decision.
In a statement, issued here today, the group has suggested immediate release of former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and all Kashmiris who were taken into preventive detention under Public Safety Act (PSA).
“Lift the curbs on all peaceful political activities and start a multi-level dialogue process with all those affected by the August 5 decision,” said the statement, signed by former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha; Wajahat Habibullah, former Chairman of Minorities Commission; Kapil Kak, Air Vice-Marshall (Retd); Bharat Bhushan, Journalist and Sushobha Barve, social and peace activist.
The peaceniks also suggested the Central Government not to push through laws in the absence of a legislature and stressed for restoration of constitutional position of J&K as it when an elected Government was in power in June 2018.
They also demanded restoration of 4-G communication in J&K and land rights of the local inhabitants to prevent demographic change besides compensating Kashmiri farmers and businessmen for their economic losses which were the direct result of unilateral action by the Government. “Extend the same bank loan deferment and facilities to J&K businesses as in the rest of the country and stop the intimidation of media personnel,” they added.
The group observed that almost a year since August 5, 2019, J&K continues to be in a social, economic, political and communication lockdown. “None of the stated goals of the Government – of bringing Kashmir closer to India, ending militancy, bringing development to the state – have been achieved. Instead the Kashmiris have lost any faith they had in the Indian political leadership and the judiciary,” said the statement.
Strongly pleading for restoration of 4G in J&K, the group said that internet restriction has affected students, job seekers, entrepreneurs, businesses and ordinary citizens alike and created havoc in banking, trade, business and healthcare. “Militancy has not gone down. Many disaffected youth continue to join its ranks despite security forces having killed 136 militants this year. There are also reports of increased infiltration from across the border. The violence on the LoC has also increased exponentially. The situation is unlikely to take a positive turn in the months ahead. As of now, neither the Kashmiris nor the Central Government seem to have a clear road map ahead,” the Group observed.

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