Restore J&K's constitutional position, release all political prisoners: CCG

Greater Kashmir

Concerned Citizens Group (CCG) on Friday asked the Centre to restore constitutional position of J&K, release all political prisoners and restore 4G internet services to Jammu and Kashmir.

In a statement, the CCG sought release of PDP President Mehbooba Mufti and all Kashmiris who were taken into preventive detention under Public Safety Act (PSA).

“Restore 4G communication in J&K, lift the curbs on all peaceful political activity, start a multi-level dialogue process with all those affected by the August 5 decision, compensate Kashmiri farmers and businessmen for their economic losses which were the direct result of unilateral action by the government,” said the statement.

It asked the government to extend the same bank loan deferment and facilities to J&K businesses as in the rest of the country. “Don’t push through laws in absence of a legislature, restore land rights of the local inhabitants to prevent demographic change, stop intimidation of media personnel, restore constitutional position of J&K as it was when an election government was in power in June 2018,” said the statement.

It said J&K continues to be in a social, economic, political and communication lockdown. “None of the stated goals of the government – of bringing Kashmir closer to India, ending militancy, bringing development to the state – have been achieved. Instead Kashmiris have lost any faith they had in the political leadership and the judiciary. While many political, business leaders and lawyers have been released in the recent past, many continue to be in detention, the most prominent among them being former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti,” said the statement.

It said the Centre’s action “internationalized” Kashmir issue and the government was criticised for “human rights violations”

“Security experts point out that the changes in the status of J&K also prompted Chinese incursions in Ladakh,” the CCG said.

It said the internet ban in J&K has affected students, job seekers, entrepreneurs, businesses and ordinary citizens alike and created havoc in banking, trade, business and healthcare.

“Kashmir’s economy was also plunged into an abyss with the sudden and mass exodus in early August of tourists and non-Kashmiri labour force. The tourism sector is in tatters. Its nascent IT sector has shut it down. The handicrafts sector is in dire straits as it could not book export orders for Christmas and New Year sales. The process of harvesting and marketing of fruits to the wholesale markets last year was impacted by militant threats, unavailability of outside labour and the killing of truck drivers and their assistants as well as non-Kashmiri orchard labour,” said the statement.

The signatories to the statement included Yashwant Sinha, former Union foreign minister; Wajahat Habibullah, former Chairman of Minorities Commission; Air Vice-Marshall (retd) Kapil Kak; Bharat Bhushan, journalist and Sushobha Barve, social and peace activist.