Indian opposition parties protest against clampdown in IOK » Kashmir Media Service

New Delhi, August 23 (KMS): Major opposition parties in India held a demonstration at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi against the continued clampdown in occupied Kashmir and demanded immediate release of political leaders and restoration of communication services in the territory.

Protest in New Delhi came as occupied Kashmir continues to remain under continued siege in the wake of the Hindu nationalist government’s decision to revoke the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir. Top opposition figures addressed the protest, which was organised by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, a regional party from the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Protesters shouted slogans such as “Release the political leaders detained in Jammu and Kashmir” and “Restore telecom services in the valley”.

Indian National Congress leader, Ghulam Nabi Azad, addressing the protesters said, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its ideological wing, RSS, are celebrating the abrogation of Article 370 while majority of the people doesn’t even know what the Article is. “They are cheating the people by saying they have restored the communication by restoring a few telephone lines. Only officials have landlines. So, is this facility only for officials? There is a complete communication blockade,” added Nabi Azad, who is the leader of opposition in Rajiya Sabha, the upper house of Indian Parliament.

Communist Party leader, D Raja, said that Modi was following the RSS agenda and harming the country’s interests. “We have betrayed the people of Kashmir, caged them and arrested all their leaders. If leaders like former chief ministers are facing troubles, we can only imagine the plight of common people,” he added.

Dinesh Trivedi of the All India Trinamool Congress party and Maimoona Mollah, a social activist and a member of the All India Democratic Women’s Association also addressed the protesters.

The opposition parties unanimously rejected the imposition of continued curfew in occupied Kashmir and demanded immediate release of all political leaders. Among the political leaders arrested in occupied Kashmir are former puppet chief ministers, Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, as well as a bureaucrat-turned-politician, Shah Faesal. Thousands of people have also been detained.

Many Kashmiri students attending the protest expressed dismay over the situation in occupied Kashmir and also rejected the speakers’ focus on the detention of politicians.

“Eight million people in Kashmir have been jailed in an open-air prison, devoid of any mobility and communication,” Zubair Ahmed, a Kashmiri student, studying in New Delhi, said.

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