Political atmosphere in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir has started regaining momentum first time after neutralization of Article 370, abrogation of 35A and reorganization of state into two Union Territories. In one of the recent developments we saw Altaf Bukhari led group writing to Lt Governor of state listing a set of demands and suggestions for reestablishing democratic set up in state.
Today one of the stalwarts of political spectrum of erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, former member parliament and founding member of J&K PDP Muzaffar Hussain Beigh held a press conference in Jammu demanding restoration Statehood, Domicile rights and release of Political detainees.
Generally considered to be outspoken and direct, Muzaffar Hussain Baig today seemed to be exhausted and fatigued visibly concerned about the situation. In his very opening remarks he said, “All communities in erstwhile state of J&K have been affected by the change, some are happy and some cross at them.” He added, “BJP in its manifesto had offered some hint at these developments and as far as Article 370 is concerned.”
Defending the neutralization of Article 370 he said, “Union government was already framing laws on 92 out of 96 powers assigned to it, he added, “In 1965 Pt Nehru, the then PM of India had said that Article 370 has turned hollow, it is just the husk which has survived.”
He said, “Unfortunately some leaders in erstwhile state did commit some mistakes and gave a wrong impression to the masses that Article 370 guarantees a separate status.” In an indirect reference to SAS Geelani he said, “Few amongst them who claim to be the leader of masses, but in hibernation mode today, had even gone to an extent of shutting doors to the Union parliamentary delegation which was on visit to Kashmir in year 2016 for talks.”
Presuming this indignation metted to the parliamentary delegation, as the reason for current changes Mr Beigh said, “BJP seems to have decided about neutralization of 370 and abrogation of 35A.”
Stating that Article 35A of the Constitution of India guaranteed certain domicile rights to the people like ownership of land and entitlement to Jobs, Mr Baig said, “Article 371 of the constitution of India guarantees similar rights under domiciliary rights and the rights of local people, adding that domiciliary rights were guaranteed by the Dogra rulers in 1927 and 1931 to both Dogras and Muslims.”
Stating the abrogation of 35A has adversely impacted all the communities Dogras, Gujjars, Paharis and Kashmiris alike, Mr Beig said, “35A guaranteed protection of rights of all the ethnic groups and its abrogation has placed all the communities in peril.”
Directing the attention of media towards a recent job advertisement issued by J&K High Court which allowed outsiders to apply for advertised jobs, Mr Baig said, “Union government is concerned about protecting rights of domiciles of the state and the job advertisement was immediately called off after the intervention of Union Government.”
Expressing apprehension of large scale migration from state, he said, “In absence of domicile rights, the people of state might face the same fate like people from Bihar who work in our state for menial jobs.”
Lamenting the reorganization of state into Union Territory, he said, “This transformation has disempowered the people of this state and left a duly elected MLA powerless.”
In his emotive address more than twice in his press conference regarding displacement of Kashmir Pandits he said, “Pandits had to leave Kashmir attributed to deteriorated situation in 1990 and they can return only when the conditions turn normal.” Adding, “If I have learned anything in life, it is attributed to Kashmiri Pandits, the dismal condition of their houses and place of worship is disheartening”
Terming the boycott of ULB election by PDP and NC as a wrong decision he stated, “The decision to boycott the elections was taken without my consent,” adding, “Participation in elections survives both the worker and the party.”
Replying to a question from Epilogue News network regarding his opinion about delimitation only after conducting a free and fair census considering 2011 census seems to be biased, he replied, “It is upto the Government of India to decide on that, they can appoint a new judicial commission to look into it, and they will take their time in deciding upon that.”
Replying to another question by Epilogue News Network regarding his previous acknowledgment in an international teleconference that Kashmiri Pandits have suffered Genocide, What in his opinion should be the next step? He said, “You see there are certain Kashmir Pandits whose children donot know to speak in Kashmiri, Isnt it a tragedy? There are Kashmiri children who donot wish to visit Kashmir because of the horror which is in their mind about Kashmir. When I was in government I was in consultation with the representatives of Kashmir Pandits, government of India and government of J&K finding some way out. I am not Socrates with a solution at hand, I can only find players, Kashmiri Pandits are the first party, GOI is the second party, GOJK is the third party and Muslims of Kashmir the fourth party, they have to find a way for attracting all those Kashmiri pandits who want to come back.”