‘We appeal to all secular forces to close ranks in order to save India for a better future’

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Thursday said his party would continue to oppose the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir.

“We stood with the people of Jammu & Kashmir. We will work for the realisation of the assurances provided in the Constitution to the people of Jammu & Kashmir. We had and continue to oppose the abrogation of Article 370, and our party has challenged the [J&K] Re-organization Act and new land laws in the Supreme Court,” Mr. Yechury said.

He said that in order to safeguard the Indian Constitution and the secular democratic character of the Indian republic, the CPI(M) will work for the realisation and aspirations of the people of J&K. “It is essential to isolate and defeat the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party). We appeal to all secular forces to close ranks in order to save India for a better future,” he added.

Mr. Yechury said the Indian Constitution was being severely undermined and the independence of constitutional institutions, including the Parliament, the judiciary, the Election Commission, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA), are under severe stress.

Referring to the “claims” made by the BJP government at the Centre on investments, development and job avenues in J&K, CPI(M) leader M.Y. Tarigami said, “These claims are a hoax and not a reality. The economy of J&K has virtually collapsed and employment opportunities are shrinking.”

He said the only way to put J&K back on track was by “immediately restoring constitutional rights and Statehood to the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir”. “This unconstitutional and undemocratic decision has created a big political void and deep uncertainty in the region,” Mr. Tarigami said.

He said the people of Ladakh were also feeling betrayed and demanding Statehood and the protection of identity, land, jobs, and constitutional safeguards. “Same is the case with Jammu as well,” he added.

Mr. Yechury demanded that a commission be constituted “to check the facts on the ground to know who has suffered in the valley”.

“A movie titled The Kashmir Files has been released with an aim to worsen the situation on the ground. People belonging to any religion or sect, including Muslims, Sikhs and Kashmiri Pandits have suffered equally in Kashmir. One fails to understand why the role of the then Governor was not highlighted in the movie. His role should have also been highlighted,” he said.