CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, who is among the signatories to the recent Gupkar Declaration seeking restoration of J&K’s pre-August 5, 2019, status, Tuesday said blocking all political highways in Kashmir was not in national interest.
In an interview with the Greater Kashmir, the four-time legislator from Kulgam said: “Most of the political leaders were arrested, restrictions have been imposed without any provision of law. Even now we have a number of people who are
seen to be seemingly free to act, but they are actually prevented from (carrying out any activity).”
He added: “Mehbooba Mufti is still (detained) under Public Safety Act (PSA). On 5th of August Farooq Abdullah wanted to have a meeting of some political leaders. And you know what happened in Srinagar. Who stopped it? So they are stopping every highway, small lanes, by-lanes of politics here in Kashmir. This is detrimental to our interests—the people of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and then equally very very harmful for the overall interests of Republic itself.”
On what he thinks about the way forward, Tarigami said: “This is not our job. On August 5, Government of India closed down all doors. It is they (GoI) who has to think what the way forward is. Here there is nothing in the name of politics. For us way forward is restore what you have snatched from us arbitrarily and undemocratically. Restore that.”
“We are asking them to abide by the very basic framework of the Constitution of India on which they taken oath. They are on oath, this government, right from Prime Minister to junior ministers. So they must respect that basic structure of Constitution of India which they have assaulted on 5th of August 2019.”
What if GoI is not willing to return to pre-August 5, 2019, position? Tarigami said: “They will have to answer this question before the people of India. We are simply saying that there are foundations of a relationship laid down by Constituent Assembly of India and certified by Constituent Assembly of J&K. You have assaulted those foundations. So you have thereby undermined the relationship itself. Does it suit the interests of the country? Does it suit the interests of Jammu, Ladakh and other communities, divisions as a whole? We believe not. That is why it is not a favour for us. We are not asking for any favour. India is not a kingdom yet. It continues to be a Republic.”
He added: “If J&K Constitution has been done away with, Constitution of India is seen to be existing still. So we suggest, we request, we appeal to every citizen of the country, please take care that whatever has been done on 5th August, it is not the question of anything taking away from the people of Kashmir, it is actually assaulting the very foundation of Constitution and the foundations of relationship between Union and J&K. It is a grave situation.”
About some ‘feeling’ that Gupkar Declaration is a “fixed match”, Tarigami said: “The declaration is a big significant step which we have taken after one year. Virtually all of us have been mourning, a virtual state of mourning. I am talking of the people in general. Now there was jubilation in certain sections of Jammu, in certain sections of Leh, but even that jubilation has come down. Even they feel disappointed. Go and talk to them where they stand today: where is their business, and even this 4G digital India. Even Jammu is not part of this digital India. That is why I said big roads as well as small roads have been closed.”
Tarigami added it is time for everybody to be together, since everybody has been “dishonoured”.
“I will appeal to everybody. When I am saying everybody, it means including Jammu, Leh, Kargil, it is a question of our survival, our honour. All of us have been dishonoured. All of us feel let’s join hands. We may differ. We may not like each other. But nevertheless when it is the question of survival and dignity of people, we have to sit together and we have to talk together…I will earnestly appeal to every citizen don’t ask for favours, ask what is constitutionally due to us, what is legitimate to the people of this historic state. This is not a state for name sake, Kashmir has a history of 5000 years. Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh have around 200 years of history (together). And you have demolished that, reduced it to a level of a small mohalla committee.”