Review of Political Developments in J & K
There is a divide in perceptions in Jammu and Kashmir at the political level due to a number of factors. Special status is one which has evoked much sentiment recently, the division of power – political and economic between Jammu and Kashmir sub-regions is another while this can take a negative dimension if viewed from the ethnic or religious point of view. At the other end of the spectrum is separatist political groups in the Kashmir Valley.
Restoration of the special status of J & K in terms of Article 370 and 35 A and a full-fledged state remains the principal bone of political contention. The People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) a conglomeration of parties in the UT has been formed specially for fulfilment of these demands. The PAGD most recent iteration was held on August 17. PAGD spokesperson and CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami said seeking the restoration of the special status, which was revoked by the Centre on August 5, 2019, is the constitutional right of the people of the erstwhile state. "We are not seeking anything other than the restoration of the special constitutional position that Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh had till August 4, 2019. It is our constitutional right," he said.
"They try to harass the leaders associated with the alliance and continue with slanderous campaigns. Perhaps, it has not happened before that the voice of the people was being stopped this way. It is impossible to keep stopping the voice of the people," he said.
The alliance spokesperson said the silence in Jammu and Kashmir has been considered as normalcy. "Even today, they think Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh should be silent like a graveyard, and it is not acceptable to the present government and leadership that anyone should raise his voice or keep his head high," he claimed. "The present government has vowed to humiliate us, they think of our humiliation as their pride, which is not acceptable to us," the CPI(M) leader alleged.
"Articles 370, 35-A and full statehood has been our constitutional position and the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, which was abolished unconstitutionally, be restored. This is our basic agenda and our basic demand," he said.
A related issue is progress after the May 24 meeting held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 14 leaders of all parties representing Jammu and Kashmir, including the PAGD. The PAGD has claimed that there has been no progress on the issues discussed during the talks, such as the release of political prisoners.
"We want to ask the government how many people have been released since the all-party meeting chaired by Modi was held," he said.
Tarigami claimed that there is a campaign to humiliate the political leadership and workers "as if only thieves exist here". "This humiliation must be stopped and we will keep our case before the people of India, its civil society, media houses and Parliament. We appeal to them that this humiliation must stop or its consequences can be dangerous not only for Jammu and Kashmir but for the entire country," he said.
Meanwhile curbs on the separatists Hurriyat Conference continue with reports that the group will be banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act under Section 3(1) under which "if the Central Government is of opinion that any association is, or has become, an unlawful association, it may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare such association to be unlawful."
This comes after revelations that the separatist group was "selling" MBBS seats in Pakistan colleges to Kashmiri students and funnelling the money into terrorism, a charge that has been denied by the moderate faction of the group led by Mirwaiz
"All Parties Hurriyat Conference(APHC) led by incarcerated chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq completely rejected and denounced the propaganda being promoted in print and other media by authorities, that it's executive leadership, who could recommend aspiring Kashmiri candidates to medical and technical colleges in Pakistan, would 'sell' the admission seats to students for money," the separatist group affiliated to Omar said in a statement.
In the same vein, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) conducted raids at multiple locations over the resurgence of activities by banned organisation Jamaat-e-Islami claiming attempts to revival of financial corruption by the group's leaders. Importantly the Jamaat e Islami has been able to survive the restrictions and ban that has been imposed indicating how less the impact is.