J&K situation unprecedented: NC MPs

Citing the “unprecedented situation” in Jammu and Kashmir, post “unconstitutional” abrogation of Article 370 last year, the National Conference MPs on Tuesday sought a discussion over the situation in the ongoing session of the Parliament.

The three party MPs –Farooq Abdullah, Muhammad Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi – called on Speaker Lok Sabha Om Birla and sought the discussion on Kashmir situation post “unilateral, unconstitutional and undemocratic” reading down of Articles 370 and 35A by the Centre on August 5 last year.

Abdullah, the former Chief Minister and Union Minister was among more than three dozen political leaders including two other former Chief Ministers, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, who were detained on August 5 last year.

He was subsequently booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA). However, his detention was revoked more than seven months late in March this year.

Ever since his release, Abdullah, who is the National Conference President, has been vocal against the Centre’s August 5 move. Last month he chaired a meeting of six parties to review the Kashmir situation and discuss future strategy. The meeting resolved to strive for restoration of J&K’s special status. The parties decided to carry forward the “Gupkar Declaration”, a unanimous resolution that was passed by the regional parties on August 4 last year to jointly oppose any move to scrap J&K’s special status.

On Monday, Abdullah and the two other party MPs attended the monsoon session of the Parliament for the first time after more than a year since the Centre abrogated J&K’s special status and bifurcated the erstwhile state into two Union territories.

The MPs, alluding to the “unparalleled” situation in J&K and Ladakh brought to the notice of the LS Speaker the fall out of the August 5 decisions, necessitating an extensive debate for the “greater good” of the country.

“There is a pressing need for discussing the situation as the entire region of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh is going through unprecedented situation, which if left unaddressed will have far-reaching consequences on the interests of the country and the entire region as well,” the MPs said.

J&K was put under complete lockdown and communication blockade for many months post August 5. Apart from politicians thousands of youth and separatists were arrested, many of them booked under the PSA and lodged in different jails in and outside J&K. While the slow-speed internet was restored in January this year, there is complete ban on the 3G-4G internet, barring two districts, Ganderbal and Udhampur, where the service was restored only last month.

The centre had described Article 370 as a “hurdle” in development of J&K and claimed that the reading down of the constitutional provisions would attract investments, create job opportunities and end violence in Kashmir.

While the government of India has failed to attract any major investment to J&K for the past more than a year, the scenario on the employment front has been equally dismal.

After August last year, the former governor Satya Pal Malik had said more than 50,000 jobs would be filled in the next three months while the first Lt Governor of J&K, GC Murmu had announced to create 30,000 to 40,000 jobs. There is no word from the government as to what happened to these jobs assurances. Even the 10,000 Class-IV posts which were advertised after the J&K administration abrogated Permanent Resident Certificate and introduced domicile rule, haven’t been filled so far.

“The discussion on the issue (Kashmir situation) is also indispensable on account of the issues of people which have compounded following abrogation of Articles 370, 35A and the failure of the government of India to deliver on the promises it had made while rescinding the state’s constitutional position unilaterally and unconstitutionally,” the MPs said, as per a party statement.