Ten Oppn parties attend DMK's J&K protest

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat, CPI leader D Raja, RJD MP Manoj Jha and others during opposition parties protest, demanding the release of leaders detained in J&K, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, Thursday, Aug 22, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Ten Opposition parties on Thursday joined the DMK protest in the national capital demanding immediate release of politicians detained in Jammu and Kashmir for the last three weeks, amid leaders mulling the option of extending such protests to state capitals across the country.

However, parties like AAP, NCP and BSP, which are in agreement with the government on scrapping special status for Jammu and Kashmir, skipped the protest at Jantar Mantar that saw leaders from Congress, Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress, CPI(M), CPI, RJD, National Conference, LJD, MDMK and Muslim League taking part in the meet and endorsing a resolution.

Opposition sources said leaders of parties that participated in the protest could meet soon to chalk out plans to take it other parts of the country, organisations similar programmes in state capitals.

The resolution said an "undeclared state of emergency" has come into force in Kashmir valley as a consequence to the scrapping of special status to Jammu and Kashmir without following due consultations with the people in the state and elected leaders.

"There has been a chilling crackdown on free speech and right of assembly. Such actions (communication black-out and detention of leaders) go against the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India and need to be immediately reversed," it said.

Addressing the protesters, Rajya Sabha Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said people are "no more living in a democracy" and "signs of dictatorship" is there. "We must recognise that there is no democracy. If we fail to understand this, we are living in a fools' paradise," he said.

He pitted Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led against former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee, saying the latter was a "great" democrat and Parliamentarian but the present BJP leadership has "made a joke out of the Constitution".

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said what happened in Jammu and Kashmir was a "direct assault" on the Constitution.

Referring to an all-party delegation led by then Home Minister Rajnath Singh visiting Kashmir and deciding to talk to stakeholders, Yechury said three years have gone by after this and "now suddenly, there is curfew and additional troops" in the valley.

"Kashmir now has the largest military concentration anywhere in the world. It is a military take over. It is a manipulated take over. There is betrayal of the people of Kashmir by giving them assurances and then not upholding it. Modi wants the land of Kashmir but not people of Kashmir," he said.

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