Jammu, December 19: Disputing the claims of normalcy in J&K being repeatedly made by the central BJP leaders, Harsh Dev Singh, Chairman-JKNPP & former Minister questioned the continuance of various restrictions besides denial of several rights and privileges to the people of the erstwhile State which are generally available to all other citizens of the country. “J&K is as much a part of India as any other State. But it’s being treated differently even after the abrogation of Article 370 and nullification of its so-called special status” said Singh.
He said that there were tensions in various parts of the erstwhile State after its reorganization into UTs in view of the centre’s failure to allay the apprehensions of the people of various regions. He argued that the centre had failed to address the concerns of various aspirational groups which has sparked outrage in various regions as being manifested in the shape of ever-increasing protests and public demonstrations being organized on day to day basis. He was addressing a largely attended public meeting in village Padrote of Domana Constituency. He was accompanied by NPP leaders Parshotam Parihar, Surinder Chouhan, Nirmal Kishore, Anil Rakwal besides others.
“Downgrading of the oldest historical State of J&K to UTs has been the most obnoxious dent upon the pride of its people. A feeling of deprivation and demotion which hurt the people could have been assuaged by compensating them in other ways. The govt. failed to do that. Rather it has divested the people of their existing privileges. There are unreasonable restrictions imposed upon the fundamental freedoms of the people, more particularly the Jammuties, which can’t be justified by any stretch of the imagination. We are entitled to similar rights as available to other citizens of the country and to communicate with them. We need to be protected and connected with the rest of the world like any other citizen of the country. The govt. has however failed to acknowledge our rights as free citizens despite its haughty claims of normalcy” asserted Singh.
“The fact of the matter is that J&K continues to bleed. In peaceful Jammu too, the mobile internet has been banned and there are no takers for the outcries of the affected people. Those who question the policies of the govt. are put behind bars. Right to hold peaceful protests which is a hallmark of Indian democracy has been denied. Development projects of the region have come to a grinding halt. Several State Commissions have been dissolved without providing suitable alternative forums thus adversely affecting the poor litigants who had pinned hopes in such commissions. PSC which was wound up was again revived thus pointing towards the utter confusion prevailing in the administrative circles. Several daily rated workers have been terminated. Several casual and need-based workers are apprehensive about their future. The college and 10+2 lecturers engaged in academic arrangement/contractual basis feel downgraded in view of their conversion to daily rated workers. The activities of opposition leaders, despite their nationalist credentials, are kept under surveillance. And there seem to be two sets of laws in the State. One for BJP and others for opposition parties. While the opposition parties have been divested of their security and official accommodation after Reorganization of State, BJP leaders and workers continue to enjoy the luxury of a fleet of security vehicles with huge deployment of police personnel with them besides their continuance in Ministerial Bungalows and other govt. accommodation. And all this in a govt. which gave tall slogans of good governance, accountability and transparency in general elections and thereafter” said Singh.
Post reorganization era has witnessed tensions in Ladakh as well with people apprehensive over the loss of land, jobs as well as their identity and culture. There have been protests and demonstrations by Ladakhis not only in Leh and Kargil but in the winter capital of the erstwhile State with none to respond except vague statements being made by the central leadership in the media.
Dozens of youth joined NPP on the occasion prominent among which included Uttam Singh Nambardar, Baldev Singh, Pritam Singh, Sardar Singh, Vikram, Shamsher Singh Ram Lal, Raj Kumar, Ramesh Lal, Rakesh Kumar, Baisakhi Ram, Som Nath Sharma, Romy Sharma, Ram Parshan, S. Harbans Singh, Goutam Chand & Bahadur Chand.