ISLAMABAD: Former occupied Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad came down hard on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government on Tuesday, saying Kashmir is “on ventilator” after the Indian government put it under a “political quarantine” for more than seven months.
Initiating a debate in the Rajya Sabha on the Jammu and Kashmir Appropriation Bills, the Leader of Opposition in the Upper House of Indian parliament demanded an immediate release of all Kashmiri political detainees, Kashmir Media Service reported.
The Senior Congress party member said the situation there “is worse than what it was even 30 years ago” and argued there had been no development in Jammu and Kashmir ever since it was bifurcated and deprived of its special status — contrary to the claims made by the BJP government.
He said it would have been better if the budget for Jammu and Kashmir was discussed in the assembly there, adding it is being deliberated upon at a time when the entire world is under the grip of the coronavirus and try to get out of it.
“A quarantine has been imposed, but Jammu and Kashmir is in a political quarantine for the last seven months and a half,” Azad said. “We need to get out of it.”
Stating while there were natural calamities such as floods, earthquake and outbreak of diseases, over which no one had any control, “the problem in Jammu and Kashmir for seven-and-a-half months is not because of nature or gods. It is because of the government [of India]”.
He added: “The calamity has not been brought by foreign invaders… The protector itself has become a disaster. Jammu and Kashmir has been put on ventilator. You will have to remove Jammu and Kashmir from ventilator.
“I urge the government to release political workers, leaders and allow political activity. I also urge the government that statehood will have to be restored at the earliest, without any delay. You will have to give land rights.”
Meanwhile, former occupied Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah was released by Indian authorities on Tuesday after a nearly-eight month house arrest. After his release, he called upon India to release all Kashmiri detainees and restore internet in the territory.
Abdullah was detained on August 5 last year ahead of New Delhi’s decision to revoke occupied Kashmir’s special status. He was later booked under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA).
Seaprately, two Indian paramilitary personnel were killed in a fratricidal firing incident in Srinagar city.
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