NH exclusive: Tourist inflow no sign of normalcy in J&K, says Tarigami

There were tourists and pilgrims in August 2019 too, points out the veteran legislator while condemning GoI’s assault on the ‘basic structure of the Constitution’ and on people of J&K. Watch video

Dal Lake
Dal Lake

Daanish Bin Nabi

Arrival of tourists in large numbers in Kashmir do not reflect that all is well and that there is normalcy, says Muhammad Yusuf Tarigami, the spokesperson of People’s Alliance of Gupkar Declaration, a former legislator and a former state secretary of CPI (M) in erstwhile J & K.

“There were large number of tourists in Kashmir even on August 4, 2019,” he points out in an interview with NH, “there were a large number of Amarnath Yatris too in Kashmir in 2019 but it was the Union Government which drove them out of the state (on the pretext of threat of a terror strike) so that it could take unconstitutional measures”. Kashmiris had always been hospitable to tourists and pilgrims, he added.

What the Union Government did on August 5, 2019, he says, was not a dilution or abrogation of autonomy but an assault on the basic structure of the Constitution and an assault on the people of J & K.

Even those who had felt in 2019 that the move might help them are now deeply dissatisfied and which is why the Buddhists of Ladakh

and Muslims from Kargil last week again demanded restoration of statehood, residency rights and land rights, he points out. People in Jammu too are unhappy, he maintained, and which is why there has been no election in the state and there is no elected assembly in the state since 2019.

The Constitution of India, said the veteran legislator, provides that if a new state is to be created or if a state is to be bifurcated, the issue must be referred to the people concerned. But in the case of J & K did the Union Government do so? No consent was taken from the people, no consultation was done—which is why the reorganisation of J & K is unconstitutional and has been challenged in the Supreme Court, he explained.

Describing the recommendations of the Delimitation Committee as unconstitutional, Tarigami pointed out that Government of India in 2002 had frozen the constituencies throughout the country till 2026 and provided for delimitation exercise after a census after 2026. The J & K Assembly had accordingly amended the J & K Constitution to be in sync with the rest of the country.

Why then is the Union Government making an exception in the case of J & K, he wondered. On the one hand New Delhi claims to be integrating Kashmir with India, while on the other hand it is out to disintegrate J & K and make it an exception, he quipped.

Accusing the Union Government of acting in bad faith, Tarigami recalled how the J & K Assembly was first kept in suspended animation when the PDP-BJP alliance fell through. But when a new coalition staked its claim to form the Government, all fax machines in the Government and Raj Bhavan stopped working. But the very next day the Assembly was dissolved and all fax machines miraculously began to work, he sarcastically added. “They don’t want a legislature here”, he went on to add.

Asked to comment on the Government of India declaring that it would derecognise degrees obtained from Pakistan and deny jobs to such degree holders, he asked, “Didn’t they have a valid passport ? Didn’t they go to Pakistan legally like many go to other countries and Bangladesh to study?” A large number of Kashmiri students who studied Medicine in Pakistan would naturally be adversely affected.

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