By withdrawing the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, the government has thrown more fuel on an already volatile situation, and with one spark, the blaze could spread, says Nazir Ahmed Laway, Rajya Sabha member of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Mr. Laway spoke to The Hindu as the clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir completed a month. It has also been a month since Mr. Laway and his party colleague Mir Mohammad Fayaz walked out of Parliament tearing a copy of the Constitution.
‘Very limited contact’
The last time he went to Kashmir was two months ago, between Parliament sessions, and since then, Mr. Laway said, he had had very limited contact with the Valley. “For the past 30 years, the situation in Kashmir has seen violence, and with the latest move to dilute Article 370 and Article 35A, the government has only added more fuel on the already volatile situation. It only needs a spark and we don’t know who all will be caught in the blaze,” Mr. Laway said.
He said the PDP had never supported violence. “Mufti saab [Mufti Mohammad Sayeed] used to say that Kashmir’s children should be saved. We have never supported violence. Our slogan has always been ‘dharne se nahi, goli se nahi; baat banegi sirf boli se’ (‘Neither protest, nor bullets; Kashmir can be saved only through talks’),” he said.
After a month of being cut-off from the State, he has been receiving intermittent calls from the State for the past two days, but he cannot place a phone call to anyone there since incoming calls are not allowed. “I am a Parliament member, but even I can’t call anyone in Kashmir,” he said.
From August 5, he has not tried to travel to Kashmir, saying he would be detained just like any other political leader. “I am able to help Kashmiris staying outside it [the State],” Mr. Laway said.
Mr. Laway said the man on the street did not adequately know Kashmir’s history. “We were free long before India won its freedom,” he said.
“Leaders who trust the Indian Constitution and democracy — they have been put behind bars. If the government has detained separatists, no one would have shed tears. Why arrest those who worked within the Constitution,” Mr. Laway asked.
Mr. Laway and Mr. Fayaz’s Rajya Sabha terms are scheduled to end in February 2021. “My trust in the Indian Constitution is firm and I will continue as a parliamentarian till my term ends. It is an important platform to raise the grievances of Kashmiris, and I shall continue to do so,” Mr. Laway said.
His decision to stay on in Parliament is contrary to the directions given by PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti. Ms. Mufti had asked PDP Parliamentarians to quit the post before she was put under house arrest.
Via The Hindu