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Press Statement of Citizens for Democracy (CFD) on The Kashmir Situation 14th August, 2019 :

14 August 2019

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F-1/A-75, Shalimar Garden Main, Sahibabad (UP-201005

14th August, 2019

Citizens For Democracy (CFD) unequivocally condemns the way the present Central Government has abrogated article 370 of the Constitution of India and has converted a recognized state, i.e. the J&K, into two Union Territories, viz. the J&K (with legislature) and Laddakh without consulting the affected people. The manner in which it is done is totally undemocratic, unconstitutional and a blot on the Indian democracy which claims to be the largest one in the democratic world. Such changes have been brought about in a deceptive manner keeping the entire people of the state under curfew and military force, depriving them of their basic human rights of freedom of expression and movements, placing large number of recognized political leaders of the state under detention, gagging the media, disconnecting phone lines and internet connections, evicting tourists, migrant labour and pilgrims. We still do not know have reliable reports as to what is happening on the ground in the state as only source of information are from government-spokesmen which many people feel suspect. 35 thousand security personnel have been added to 5 lakhs already stationed in the state for several decades. Valley at present resembles an open-air prison.

The government has claimed that article 370 is at the root of terrorism in the state and its removal will bring peace. Human rights organizations like Citizens For Democracy, P.U.C.L. and others have always been opposed to militancy and terrorism but have time and again stressed that while dealing firmly with militancy, the government must always be human and considerate towards the people and must always follow a policy which will win them away from extremist elements. The present action of the government is likely to swell the ranks of the separatists and may lead to more bloodshed. The lawlessness of the militants cannot be eliminated by a government which itself becomes lawless.

The government’s claim that abrogation of article 370 will lead to development of the State is a hoax. People cannot be forced to cooperate in the developmental processes at gunpoint shattering their self respect, dignity and freedoms. History of peoples struggles is proof that when people have an opportunity to choose between ‘development with slavery’ and ‘freedoms with poverty’, they prefer the latter. Our own struggle during ‘emergency’ (June 1975-March-1977) is the standing example. Inspite of Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s proclamations during emergency that her developmental agenda under 20 Point Programme was more important than freedoms and fundamental rights, Indian people chose the latter.

Citizens For Democracy was founded by Loknayak Jayprakash Narayan in April 1974 for promoting the democratic rights and civil liberties of the people. He always stood for and raised his voice in defence of the democratic rights of the people of Kashmir. CFD is pained to witness the retrograde steps taken by the present government in relation to Jammu & Kashmir. Such steps are negation of what Mahatma Gandhi and Loknayak Jayprakash Narayan strived for and preached. The philosophy of ‘force’ believed and followed by the present government is a self destructive policy and runs counter to all that our freedom movement for independence stood for. CFD and other several human rights organizations and human rights activists, who have investigated human rights violations in the valley, have repeatedly emphasized that the people who have distinct language, culture and religion and who have overwhelming majority in the valley -who already feel alienated by repressive policies followed by various governments in the past, cannot be retained in India by force and against their will for an indefinite period. Only way for the government to win them back is to respect their dignity, protect their human rights and persuade them to voluntarily embrace India by a process of emotional integration.

We therefore demand that

(a) Article 370 should be immediately restored,
(b) Jammu, Kashmir and Laddakh should be immdediately restored to their
original status of ‘state- hood’;
(c) all political leaders and other activists who have been detained/imprisoned before and after the process of abrogation of article 370 should be forthwith released,
(d) freedoms and fundamental rights of the people of J&K along with their telephone and internet connections should be restored and all restrictions imposed on them during this period should be forthwith removed.

S.R.Hiremath N.D.Pancholi Anil Sinha Arun Majhi
For and on behalf of Citiizens For Demcoracy
(M) 9448145930, 9811099532,