DMK’s J&K protest to be acid test for Opposition unity

A section of the Opposition will come together for the first time on a common platform on Thursday during the protest organised by DMK demanding the release of political leaders who continue to remain in detention in Jammu and Kashmir after the government scrapped special status of the state.

DMK protest at Jantar Mantar, a kilometre away from Parliament House, will see the attendance of senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, his CPI counterpart D Raja and senior Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi among others.

Leaders from RJD and Muslim League are also expected to attend the protest led by DMK’s T R Baalu and others. All Congress and DMK MPs from Tamil Nadu will be participating in the protest that starts at 11 AM.

However, it is to be seen whether leaders of AAP and BSP would attend it, as they had supported the government on the move to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

Prominent Kashmiri leaders like Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti are under detention since August 4 night, a day before the government announced its move while normalcy has not returned to the troubled state, as communication links are still down.

Announcing the protest, DMK President M K Stalin had said that parties that “believe in democracy” would participate in the protest to send a signal to the BJP that implementation of its Kashmir policies was not according to democratic principles.

The Kashmir move had also created ripples within parties as Congress saw an almost implosion with a section of leaders questioning the decision to oppose the scrapping move and bifurcation of the state into two union territories.

While the Gandhis and leaders like Azad and P Chidambaram opposed the move, a section of leaders like Jyotiraditya Scindia supported the government. Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda, who is hard bargaining ahead of state elections, has also used the issue to attack the Congress leadership.

There were murmurs of protests in Trinamool Congress too with one of its senior leaders Sukhendu Shekhar Roy appeared to support the government move. AAP decided to support the government on the issue keeping an eye on the Assembly elections, though one of its senior leaders was said to be opposed to the idea.

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