Srinagar: A pressure group which calls itself ‘Concerned Citizens Group (CCG)’ has urged the Modi government to alleviate the fears of the people of Jammu and Kashmir about their future by starting a multi-level dialogue process with all those “affected” by its August 5 move.
It has also demanded unconditional release of all those politicians, businessmen, academics, opinion-makers and students incarcerated under stringent Public Safety Act or other laws ahead of the Centre’s abrogating Article 370 “if they are not accused of any crime”.
“If there are any specific cases against individuals and they have been sent to jails outside the state, they should be brought back and housed locally. It is a punishment to their families to travel to UP, Delhi, Rajasthan or Haryana to meet the prisoners,” it said in a report prepared after its key members — former finance and external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha, national chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, retired Air Vice-Marshal Kapil Kak, senior journalist Bharat Bhushan and executive program director of Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation Sushobha Barve visited Srinagar last month.
The report said that the group found that there was both gloom and anger in the air in the Valley. It said, “Also there was no outlet for sharing their emotional anguish with the people of the Valley as it was locked up and communications shut down.”
It warned the “deliberate silence” of the Kashmiris and their “spontaneous civil disobedience” against the August 5 move and subsequent actions of the government may turn into non-cooperation.
It said that the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A has led to fears of demographic change in the Valley and Muslim-dominated areas of Jammu region. “The Kashmiris seemed to be working in an ideological frame. They believe that the Indian government wants to marginalise them if not annihilate them. This fear is expressed more vividly as fear of demographic change by creating new settlements for outsiders,” the report said adding “There is also fear of National Register of Citizens and how it could be used to legitimise settlers.” The group said dialogue with the sufferers could alleviate fears.