No space for opposition in BJP's model of democracy: J&K Congress

The Congress’ Jammu and Kashmir unit on Saturday accused the BJP-led central government of suppressing all opposition voices through use of police authority to “crush all sorts of genuine dissent” in the Union Territory.

Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said the BJP’s philosophy of democracy is based on “no space to opposition”.

“It (BJP) had already given slogan of Congress-mukt Bharat (India free of Congress) whereas it has been attempting to crush all opposition forces. All those against the BJP are dubbed as threat to peace and against the national interests and detained,” Sharma said in a statement here.

“This is a replica of a sick thinking which goes against the glorious traditions and fundamental provisions of our Constitution,” he said, apparently referring to the crackdown on the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) which had called for ‘Jammu bandh’ on Saturday.

According to officials, the day-long ‘Jammu bandh’ to protest Internet shutdown failed to evoke any response here as JKNPP leader Harsh Dev Singh was put under house arrest and several others were detained.

Criticising the “authoritarian approach” of the administration at the “behest of the Centre”, Sharma said the Congress has taken strong exception to the “vindictive attitude” towards opposition in all matters such as withdrawing security cover and “leaving no scope or space to play their democratic duty and rights towards people”.

“The party asked the government to tolerate the genuine opposition voices and facilitate all sorts of political activities to allow democracy to flourish of which dissent is the fundamental essence,” the Congress leader said.

He also sought immediate release of all opposition leaders and workers “detained without any justification” simply for appealing the people to respond to their call for bandh.

JKNPP chairman and former minister Harsh Dev Singh was detained along with several other associates on Friday while he was trying to gather support for the bandh to protest internet shutdown after the abrogation of Article 370 provisions on August 5. He was later put under house arrest.