March 2020 News

'Dissent Muzzled': Opposition Demands Release Of 3 Ex-J&K Chief Ministers

9 March 2020

New Delhi: Eight opposition parties have sent a joint resolution to the BJP-led Central government, demanding the immediate release of all political detainees in Kashmir, especially the three former Chief Ministers - Farooq and Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti. Under the Narendra Modi government, 'democratic dissent is being muzzled by coercive administrative action, which has threatened the basic ideals of Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity as enshrined in our Constitution,' the resolution read. The former Chief Ministers and the political leaders have been under detention since August, when the government ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir granted under Article 370 of the constitution and bifurcated the state into two union territories. Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have been detained under the stringent Public Security Act. Pointing out that the BJP has allied with all three leaders and their parties in the past, the resolution said, 'There is nothing in the past records of these three leaders to lend credence to the Modi government's false and self-serving claim that they pose a threat to 'public safety' in J&K or that they have endangered national interests with their activities'. The indefinite detention of the three former Chief Ministers and other activists is a 'blatant violation of their fundamental rights', the resolution said. It reflected the 'attack on the Constitutionally assured rights and dignity of millions of our sisters and brothers in Kashmir' and exposed the government's 'lie' that the situation is normal in Kashmir, the resolution said. The resolution, however, offered a glimpse of the divided face of the opposition. The Congress was not a signatory to the resolution, which had the names of the Nationalist Congress Party, Trinamool Congress, Janata Dal Secular, CPM, CPI, Lalu Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal and former BJP ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie. There was no word on why the Congress had not signed the resolution. Sources said the party, along with the DMK, have been at the forefront of the agitation against the Centre's move and have been making their point at every parliament session since the Narendra Modi government returned to power.