Restore Articles 370 and 35A! Release all opposition leaders in Kashmir! Do not play with Kashmir and the Constitution!

05 August 2019
New Delhi, 5 August 2019.

THE Presidential Order abrogating Article 370 and bifurcating the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu And Kashmir is nothing short of a coup against the Indian Constitution. The Modi Government, in its usual secretive, conspiratorial, and illegal manner, is burning the constitutional and historical bridge that connected Kashmir to the rest of India.

In preparation for this coup, the Modi Government has laid siege to Kashmir for the past week. 35,000 fresh troops have s been deployed in the Kashmir Valley, which was already the world’s most militarised zone. Warnings issued to tourists and pilgrims to leave the Valley caused panic, even as Kashmiri people have opened their doors to the guests in their state. In addition, Opposition politicians were placed under house arrest overnight, the internet has been shut down, petrol sales have been stopped, and the CRPF has taken over police stations.

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According to the Constitution, no decision regarding redrawing the boundaries of J&K or regarding Articles 370 and 35A can be taken without the consent of the State Assembly. In 2018, the J&K Assembly was dissolved illegally without giving any claimants a chance to form Government. The Central Government then avoided conducting elections to the J&K Assembly together with the Parliamentary elections. The Presidential Order is therefore a coup.

Demonetisation did not solve the problem of corruption and black money - rather it encouraged corruption and created new miseries for common people. Likewise, these draconian and conspiratorial decisions regarding Jammu and Kashmir, when an elected State Assembly no longer exists will not solve the Kashmir dispute, but will worsen the situation. The intensified militarisation and crackdown on Opposition parties will further alienate the people of Kashmir.

Moreover, this coup will not only affect the situation in Kashmir: it is an attack on the Constitution and will affect the whole of India. With Jammu and Kashmir, with the Citizenship Amendment Bill and NRC, the BJP is dragging India back to the turmoil of the 1940s. J&K is effectively under Emergency - India must wake up and resist this, since the Emergency will soon reach the whole of India.  

CPIML stands by the people of Jammu and Kashmir at this time of crisis. The CPIML calls for protest vigils across the country against the Constitutional coup, and demands that the siege on the Kashmir Valley be lifted immediately, Articles 370 and 35A duly restored and all Opposition leaders be released from house arrest.

Dipankar Bhattacharya,
General Secretary, CPIML Liberation