“Please listen to us, you have heard one version, now please listen to the version of the people of Kashmir as well,” said Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader of Kashmir and former legislator Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami on Tuesday while interacting with media in New Delhi.
Tarigami is the first leader from J&K who had faced detention post the abrogation of article 370 to conduct a press conference.
Pointing out that the situation in Kashmir today is much more disturbing than the 90s, when the times were even more difficult, he said, “Very foundations of the unity of the people of Kashmir with India are getting assaulted by those who are mandated to protect those very foundations of the constitution. The bond that was created by the hard work of the leaders and the people of Jammu and Kashmir has been assaulted today. And I am worried about that.”
Tarigami himself was under detention along with other leaders in Kashmir from August 5 onward. It was after efforts by CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, that he was permitted by the court to travel to New Delhi on account of his health condition. The Supreme Court has given permission to Tarigami to return to srinagar whenever he wants to, as per his convenience.
Condemning the government’s claims that no bullet was fired, and no person died in the state, Tarigami added, “Bullets are not fired even in jail. Does that mean that it is fine? People in Kashmir are dying slowly, they are suffocating.”
While the clampdown in the state has continued for over 40 days now, there are reports that the state is slowly moving back to normalcy.
“How are things moving back to normalcy? Try doing this in Delhi, or any other city in India, and see what happens to the businesses, schools, hospitals there. Why are we deprived of the most basic facilities? The schools in Kashmir are shut, the hospitals are suffering. Fruit industry is one of the major industries in Kashmir, and one part of the harvest has already spoiled because it could not reach market. I don’t know what would happen to the rest,” Tarigami said as he appealed, “Even we want to live. Please give us a chance to live.”
“The people of Kashmir want nothing but a chance to march together with the people, a chance to debate and discuss,” he further said. “I am not a foreigner. Farooq Abdullah and other leaders are not terrorists. People across the border are clapping that Delhi has achieved what they could not,” said Tarigami criticising the detention of Abdullah under Public Safety Act.
Reacting to the government allegation where those who try to bring forth a different version of the Kashmir narrative than the one given by the government are supporting Pakistan, Tarigami said, “I would like to question those in power today. How many militants were there in Kashmir in 2014? And how much has that number increased today? How was this situation tackled? We don’t get answers to these questions these days. Militancy can only be curbed with the support of people. Can that trust be achieved by beating people up, putting them behind bars, and by stopping their lives? And who would this situation help? The enemies of the nation, or the people of this nation itself?”
Speaking earlier, Yechury said, “All the issues regarding the abrogation of Article 370 and the reorganisation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir have been taken to the court through a writ petition. Around three years ago, a committee comprising the them Home Minister Rajnath Singh had paid a visit to Kashmir, and had promised to stop the use of pellet guns , and hold a dialogue with all stakeholders. We want to know instead of implementing these, why was the decision to abrogate Article 370 made so hastily.”