Jammu: Hinting at a big move of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) to reach out to Jammu region, senior CPI(M) leader and former MLA Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami on Monday stated that Kashmir could not go alone to achieve its (PAGD’s) objectives.
“As far as we are concerned, including the other constituents of the PAGD, the strong feeling is that without Jammu; without its representation or the involvement of its people and without any credible dialogue with the cross sections of its people including civil society, things will not move forward.
Kashmir cannot go alone or march ahead. Similarly Jammu cannot ignore Kashmir. We, including Ladakh, have to move together. This is an ‘article of faith’ for us,” Tarigami, who is also the spokesperson of PAGD, said while addressing media persons here.
PAGD is a consortium of mainstream political parties of J&K seeking restoration of the special status of J&K.
He averred that three regions were linked to each other, given their common interests and history. “We need to identify areas where we can agree. At the same time, we have a right to disagree as well. But while disagreements are there, there can be possibilities of agreements as well. We must explore those possibilities where some sort of commonality emerges which can be a binding force for all of us to move together to provide relief to the people of Jammu as well as Kashmir,” he pointed out.
Veteran CPI (M) leader very stoutly defended the leaders of PAGD constituents against the accusations of “peddling soft separatism” and “not condemning the acts of terrors and its perpetrators to shield their electoral constituencies.”
Responding to a related query, Tarigami said, “I don’t agree with what you’ve stated entirely. My opinion is that all the constituents of PAGD have suffered too much because of extremism, militancy. It’s not (a question) today that Dr Farooq had said or not said (anything on ongoing spate of violence). He is known across J&K rather across the country for his bold remarks against the terrorism and against those who are sponsoring it and encouraging it. Similarly, this is true about the late Mufti Mohammed Sahib who established the PDP. But my point is - let’s not make it an issue of this party or that party – we’re victims of violence. Local civilians, two teachers were killed, a (KP) businessman was killed, labourers from UP, Bihar were killed and they included Muslims also. Then the militants were also killed as the government told us.”
“We’ve demanded that the government must tell us- who is behind all these killings? You must take action against those elements and make them accountable. See we’re not hesitating in calling a spade a spade. We’re not hesitating in pin-pointing when the security forces are committing excesses. We’re not hesitating in condemning when the militants are indulging in acts of terror. PDP president Mehbooba too should not be misunderstood. We’ve been saying that given the involvement of the Pakistani establishment, they must have a dialogue and ask them to stop it. This is the duty of the Government of India. They have been talking and they must talk even now,” he said.
Do the voices of discord among its constituents suggest crumbling of PAGD, in response to this question with particular reference to NC vice president Omar Abdullah’s recent criticism of PDP patron late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Tarigami said, “We’ve not merged together so we’ve every right to differ on certain issues.”
“But there’s a commonality which is binding us together. That’s why I’ve come to Jammu to reach out to the civil society, political activists with the request to carve out a joint platform for a united fight,” he added. When asked whether the PAGD would also launch a movement like farmers to achieve its objective of restoration of the special status of J&K, he evaded a direct reply. “When the farmers had launched a movement, you came to know about it. Similarly you will come to know about it as and when we take any such initiative,” CPI(M) leader said.