Twenty-one days after the Narendra Modi-led government abrogated Article 370, a meeting was held by locals in Drass, which falls under Kargil, to discuss the current situation of the Jammu and Kashmir. They condemned the continuous communications black out in the state, the arrest of political, social and religious figures and unanimously rejected the decision of bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.
Jammu and Kashmir has been cut off from the rest of India for more than 20 days, heavy security restrictions are in place, over 300 political leaders are under detention and children are not being sent to school, after the Central government scrapped the special status of the state.
The participants included members of various religious communities, including Sunni, Shia, Ahle Hadith, Noorbakshia along with members of political parties National Conference, Indian National Congress, People Democratic Party, Bharatiya Janata Party and local elected representatives of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (Kargil). At the meeting a Drass coordination committee was formed.
“At the meeting it was decided that we don’t want to be separated from Jammu and Kashmir. What was done was enacted without our consent. The BJP government’s decision was termed as ‘undemocratic and unconstitutional’,” said Sajjad Hussain, a social activist based in Kargil.
The Drass Sector BJP President Bilal Ahmed was a part of the meeting and he agreed with the decisions taken, added Hussain.
Reiterating the collective historical, cultural, geographical, and economical proximity with the rest of Jammu and Kashmir, the coordination committee of Drass announced that they were, are and would continue to remain a part of Jammu and Kashmir.
The coordination committee also decided to coordinate with the Joint Action Committee of Kargil to plan a detailed course of action.
At the meeting, the local leaders emphasised the need to build up a democratic and peaceful struggle across Drass and other parts of Kargil for the restoration of Article 370, Article 35A and re-integration of Ladakh with Jammu and Kashmir.
They demanded the restoration of all communications and the release of all political prisoners.
With inputs from Ashlin Mathew