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August 17, 2019

Indian intelligentsia, writers, activists say Modi’s decision on IHK mockery of democracy

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August 17, 2019

NEW DELHI: More than 200 Indian writers and cultural activists on Friday slammed the BJP-led Modi government's decision to revoke Article 370, which granted special status to Indian Held Kashmir (IHK), saying that it made a mockery of democracy. The writers and activists said that the government has made a mockery of the democracy by splitting Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories, international media reported.

The writers and activists also said that by revoking the special status granted to the IHK and dividing the state into two union territories, the government has violated the solemn promises made to the state.

The signatories include Amitav Ghosh, Nayantara Sahgal, Perumal Murugan, Ashok Vajpeyi, TM Krishna, JV Pawar, Bezwada Wilson, Amit Chaudhuri, Shashi Deshpande, Sharankumar Limbale, P. Sainath, Damodar Mauzo, Dalip Kaur Tiwana, Bama, Sambhaji Bhagat, Jerry Pinto and many others, working in different parts of India and elsewhere, and working in many languages.

In a statement, the writers and activists wrote: "By revoking the special status of Jammu & Kashmir and splitting it up into two union territories, the central government has made a mockery of democracy. It has violated the solemn promises made to the state of Jammu & Kashmir by the Union of India during the accession of the state in 1947."

"The abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution and the breakup of the state has been executed unilaterally, clandestinely and coercively. The people - across religious, cultural, ethnic and ideological segments - have not been consulted. Indeed, the unprecedented security and information clampdown in the state since August 5, 2019, is proof of the government's fear of popular discontent and democratic dissent."

Terming the government's decision as "undemocratic and unconstitutional", the writers wrote: "We condemn the government's division of people and territories from above, subverting the very basis of our constitutional federalism. We condemn the state of siege imposed on the people of a state already suffering for many long years."

The activists and writers have demanded that the state of siege in Jammu and Kashmir be lifted and all the basic human rights restored with immediate effect. They also demanded the restoration of Article 370.

"We declare our solidarity with the Kashmiri people, and call on all our fellow citizens to resist this authoritarian challenge to the freedom and autonomy of Jammu & Kashmir," the statement stated.

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