Restore Full Statehood to J&K By Year-End: Rashtra Manch to PM Modi
Modi government abolished Article 370, which provided a special status to the state of J&K on 5 August 2019.
Demanding restoration of full statehood to Jammu and Kashmir followed by free and fair elections, Rashtra Manch, a political action group set up by former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha in 2018, issued a statement on Wednesday, 11 August.
The statement urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to announce restoration of full statehood to Jammu and Kashmir in his Independence Day speech. Opposition parties were also appealed to demand the same.
The statement added, “Supreme Court should expedite hearing on revocation of Article 370, and its verdict should be binding on all concerned. Separatism, terrorism and communal politics are common enemies, which must be fought unitedly.”
Modi government abolished Article 370, which provided a special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir and Article 35A, which protected the rights and privileges of its "permanent residents" on 5 August 2019.
The state was further bifurcated into two parts, both of which were made Union Territories.
Calling these actions undemocratic, the statement said, the actions “caused a deep sense of hurt, humiliation and betrayal in the minds of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
The political group highlighted that the actions were taken “without any consultations with the people, who are the principal stakeholders in a democracy, and with their elected representatives.”
Saying that there was a denial of constitutional rights, the statement added, “All the leaders of political parties in Kashmir, who have repeatedly pledged their allegiance to the India, were detained for a prolonged period as if they are anti-national and a threat to public safety.”
The political group questioned the promise of increased investments and accelerated development, and pointed that Modi government’s actions led to:
Losses worth tens of thousands of crores to the economy of Jammu and Kashmir
Lakhs of youth have lost employment
Worrisome increase in suicides among young people.
The statement also pointed out that PM Modi himself acknowledged his failures when he said that he wants “to remove both dil ki doori (the distance between New Delhi and the hearts of Kashmiri people) and Dilli ki doori (the distance between New Delhi and Srinagar)”.
Demands Raised by Rashtra Manch
The Rashtra Manch said that people and non-BJP political leaders cannot sit quietly while people of J&K suffer and urged PM Modi to announce the following in his speech on Independence Day:
Full statehood would be restored to Jammu and Kashmir before the end of 2021
Free and fair elections would be held soon after the restoration of full statehood
The delimitation exercise in Jammu and Kashmir would be deferred, and held along with other states in India
No steps shall be taken to alter the demographic profile of Jammu and Kashmir.
The demands also included asking the Supreme Court to expedite hearing on the constitutional validity of revoking Article 370.
The statement concluded with asking the Government of India to “act with extreme care and alacrity so as to “prevent anti-India forces from exploiting the situation of ‘Dil ki Doori’ and ‘Dilli ki Doori’.”
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