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A cunning and irresponsible act of tweaking with Constitutional Status of Jammu & Kashmir – Samajwadi Jan Parishad

New Delhi,
12th August 2019. BJP led NDA government has abrogated Article 370 of Indian Constitution on 5th August, thereby annulling many prominent constitutional
provisions. Simultaneously Central Govt. has divided the state in two Union
Territories, a major down gradation from the status of ‘State with special powers. Samajwadi Jan Parishad has
said that this act of Modi Government is cunning and irresponsible.

Parishad
issued a press statement as follows –

Central Govt
got three proposals cleared by Parliament. One of them empowers President of
India to exercise the powers of Constituent Assembly of Kashmir in its absence.
Actually, in one of its judgments last year, The Supreme Court of India had
ruled that only Kashmir Constituent Assembly has the right to abrogate article 370. Once the Constituent Assembly of Kashmir was dissolved
in 1957, this provision could be
reconsidered only by forming another Constituent Assembly. BJP modified the
Constitution itself for bypass this provision.

In order to
fulfill its communal agenda, the government has not only taken away the status
of state but also bifurcated it into two Union Territories. To suppress
expected large-scale public protests against these heinous moves, authorities
deployed a record number of 50,000
security forces and suspended all types of communication links. A virtual
curfew has been imposed on entire valley. The government is propagating to have
corrected the historical mistake in context of Kashmir and claims that peace
and tranquility will be restored in this strife and terrorism affected region
once for all.

However when
we assess this move of BJP in the background of their ideology and character
and the need to maintain sanctity of constitution, democratic uprightness and
rule of law, we will realise that these steps have been taken by BJP-NDA
government in contravention of basic principles of constitution, by throttling
the democratic rights of people and ignoring the facets of federalism and pluralism.
Rather imposing unilateral communal Hindutva agenda is the only motive behind
this sinister move. The fact that opinion of citizens of Jammu and Kashmir has
been blatantly ignored in the entire process, (a promise made to them at the
time of accession), is yet another proof of a well thought of conspiracy of
BJP. To justify its anti-democratic and unethical act, Home Minister had the
gumption of even quoting Late Ram Manohar Lohia out of context regarding his
opposition to Article 370.
Even one Congress leader
supported this statement. We strongly condemn this uncivilized behavior by
senior national leaders. Dr Lohia always advocated for an India-Pakistan
Mahasangh where free transit of its citizens could be possible across
boundaries.

Samajwadi Jan
Parishad believes that this government is suppressing popular sentiments in
Jammu-Kashmir, like it has done in rest of the country. Earlier Congress
government had dislodged Prime Minister Sheikh Abdulla in 1953 and kept him in prison for twenty long years, (who was
elected with a huge majority) side-lining the provisions of Constitution of
Kashmir. Later Congress organised a largely rigged election and subverted
democracy in this state. Present BJP govt. has gone many steps ahead to strike
a major blow to the communal harmony of the region. Its noteworthy that one of
the general secretaries of Congress has supported this move of BJP and this
party too is largely silent in this regard.

SJP believes
that Governments of Centre as well as of state, including NC and PDP, have no
political will to solve this long pending issue. Although NC has been against
partition of India since beginning and they played a major role in maintaining
communal harmony in this region, but they too could not address other developmental
requirements of people at large. If NC and PDP had addressed welfare issues
during these decades, the academic, economic, political and social conditions
of the state would have been much better. But their role also remained
irresponsible like that of other national parties. BJP-RSS is using this
situation to their advantage by inciting communalism and hatred in entire
country. SJP strongly condemns this fraud and unconstitutional as well as
irrational attitude of central government.

SJP believes
in federalism in letter and spirit and advocates for unquestionable individual
and community rights of local residents on the natural resources. This has been
a governing principle of SJP in the context of autonomy and local
self-governance of states including Jammu and Kashmir. Even for public utility
purposes if land, forest, minerals or water resources have to be acquired, the
same should be only with the consent of local democratic bodies i.e. Gram
Sabha, Panchayat, Jila Parishad etc.

The methods
deployed by this government to enact these sweeping changes in J&K appears
to be a Litmus Test. If they succeed this time, they will deploy similar
methods to usurp the special provisions in tribal areas and other states
enjoying special status. Opposition ruled state governments will also be
targeted, their constitutional rights will be suspended and dictatorial system
may be imposed. Assuming the rights of a dissolved legislative assembly as
vested in Governor is undemocratic, unconstitutional and dictatorial hence not
acceptable.

SJP has
always been in favour of diplomatic initiative for resolving Kashmir problem.
This has to be done with due concern for sensitivity of all dimensions and due
diligence of international aspects in the matter. A larger involvement of all
sections of Indian society is imperative for peaceful coexistence in South Asia
which will include Bangladesh, Kashmir and Pakistan.

However, the
way changes have been made now under the barrel of gun, SJP vehemently opposes
this act. This is a well-planned attack of Central Govt on the federal
structure of the nation. This step will further embolden Kashmiri separatists.
Deciding about the future of a community without any consultation with them is
outright undemocratic and dictatorial.

In addition to
capture of POK, China has also taken control of our very large area, 33,000 sq. km. land in Aksai Chin. Central Govt has not even
issued a statement about this aspect. Govt has also not protested against
Chinese statement against Ladakh being carved out as an UT which should have
been done immediately.

Demands of
SJP

For
Immediate action –

– All provisions with respect to
Kashmir should be restored as of prior to 5th August 2019

– State Assembly elections in Jammu
& Kashmir be conducted immediately and popular elected govt. be installed

– Arrest of two ex-CMs is highly
condemnable. These leaders and all politicians must be released forthwith

– A High-level constitutional enquiry
be constituted against recent actions of government

– Any decision about Article 370 should be made in consultation with the locals and
after forming a Constituent Assembly

Long Term –

-A permanent solution should be
explored by resuming talks with Pakistan

– Conducive atmosphere should be
created for working in the direction of an India-Pakistan-Bangladesh Mahasangh

– Efforts must be made to reclaim
Aksai-Chin area from China

– Constitutional right to downgrade a
state to UT should be withdrawn from Central Govt.

– Second Centre-State Commission be constituted to redefine Centre-State relations from federal perspective

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