Srinagar: The People's Democratic Party on Thursday accused the BJP-led Centre of curbing freedom of expression, saying if the status quo continues, it will lead to the death of democracy.
“Nine Indian journalists have been arbitrarily arrested and six of them are Kashmiri. We may not have seen the birth of the Indian democracy but if the status quo doesn’t change, we’ll be forced to watch it die. After silencing journalists, they are going after government employees next and the GOI has warned them of dire consequences for participating in any protests or voicing their concerns,” the People's Democratic Party (PDP) said in the November edition of its newsletter ‘Speak Up’.
The party also said that Kashmiris were not allowed to voice their concerns for war-hit Palestine or hold community prayers for Palestinians.
"If you think censorship only applies to Indian issues, think again. For the first time in history, India has openly taken a pro-Israel stance and Kashmiris were prevented from protesting for Palestine. The world saw millions of people from all nationalities and religions come out in protest for Palestine but Kashmiri preachers were not even allowed to hold community prayers for our Palestinian brethren," “Naturally, BJP is not speaking out against the atrocities because they are too busy taking notes so they can improve their J&K operation by learning from Israel. They say the biggest recruiter for Hamas is Israel. Who do you think the biggest recruiter for Kashmiri Mujahideen is?” the party asked.
Referring to former director general of police Dilbag Singh’s statement on collateral damage in Jammu and Kashmir, on his retirement eve last month, the PDP said the fundamental rights, freedom, land and economy of people in the Union Territory have been compromised.
” Ex-DGP Dilbag Singh recently remarked that during the last five years, J&K witnessed ‘zero collateral damage’. Indeed, we’ve had zero collateral damage except for the people of J&K, their fundamental rights as Indian citizens, their freedom, land, and economy,” the party added.
It pointed out that the first week of November alone saw three targeted attacks that left a police inspector injured while a cop and a labourer from Uttar Pradesh were killed in the Union Territory.
Taking a jibe at the Election Commission, the party said the national poll body maintains that elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be held when it deems it is the right time.
"The ‘right time’ has become somewhat of a riddle, if you will. No collateral damage, total normalcy, no law and order problems but the time for elections is never quite ‘right’. Because that would involve giving our people the democratic right to choose their government, an idea that GOI finds disquieting at best. Things are always normal, militancy is extinct and the economy is perpetually scaling new highs until someone drops the word, "election" and that’s when the pall of gloom descends,” it added.
The party said it would like to remind the Centre of Martin Luther King’s words that “the time is always right to do the right thing”.
The PDP said this tactic to delay elections is “a masterstroke by the BJP” as the discourse has shifted from Jammu and Kashmir’s special status to the assembly election.
“Our people have sacrificed everything for peace with dignity so let’s keep our eyes on the prize,” the party said.