Srinagar, June 22: Emphasising the need for confidence-building measures (CBMs) to enhance prevailing peace and strengthen democracy in Jammu and Kashmir, Apni Party chief Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Thursday appealed to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, to take necessary action and announce the required CBMs to facilitate the ongoing transformation towards a more peaceful and harmonious environment in the region.
In his statement issued here, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, while urging the Union Home Minister to announce CBMs, said: “One of the major CBMs would be the announcement of assembly elections in J&K in order to enable the people to exercise their constitutional right to choose their own representatives, thereby promoting a stronger democratic process in the region.”
Urging to put a stop to reimposing of Public Safety Act (PSA) on the prisoners, he said that since the situation has changed for the better in the region, there is no need to put people behind bars for an extended period of time again.
He said: “The Individuals who have been detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA) for their involvement in inciting violence and engaging in anti-national activities have undergone a significant transformation. Therefore, there is no need to re impose the PSA on them again; Instead, it is important to consider granting them an opportunity to lead peaceful and normal lives. The mindset of the people, especially the youth, has completely transformed with the realisation of the dividends of a peaceful environment.”
“Even, those who earlier would believe in boycott politics are now eagerly waiting for the upcoming assembly polls so that the democratically elected representatives could take charge of the affairs here. Thus, this is the ripe time to take the required actions for fostering peace and strengthening democracy in J&K, which has been grappling with the unconducive environment for quite the past several decades. Holding assembly elections would help in fostering an inclusive and participatory environment where the aspirations of the people could be addressed effectively, ” he added.
He further said: “Post August 5, 2019, people in general were deprived of their rights and felt a sense of political disempowerment. But the holding of polls here would fade the sense of political disempowerment among the masses.”
The Apni Party president said that with the advent of Eid al-Adha, and the commencement of the Amarnath pilgrimage in the coming days, this is the right time for taking such initiatives.
Stressing the release of the veteran religious and political leaders, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari said, “We know as a matter of fact that the militancy has taken a backstage in J&K and the people have been contributing to restoring normalcy here. Therefore, the time has come to start a range of positive initiatives, including the release of prominent religious leaders, including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Moulana Abdul Rasheed Dawoodi, Moulana Mushtaq Ahmad Veeri, and others, and political leaders like engineer Rashid.”
“The release of religious and political leaders will fill the environment with a spirit of positivity. Also, given the vast influence of these religious leaders over the masses, they will be able to play an important role in helping eradicate social evils, including the prevailing drug abuse in the Valley, “he added.
Welcoming the Amarnath Yatra, which is commencing soon, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari said that “the sprite of this traditional yatra has always played a pivotal role in fostering religious harmony, strengthening cultural bonds, and yielding significant economic benefits.”
He added, “Kashmiris have always demonstrated their warm hospitality by wholeheartedly welcoming the yatra and embracing pilgrims with open hearts and minds. Therefore, it is imperative for the government to have unwavering trust in the people and provide them with ample opportunities to extend their gracious hospitality to the yatris.”