28 September 2019
Shri Narendra Modi,
Prime Minister of India
Dear Modi Ji,
As you know that on 5 August 2019 your government unilaterally abrogated the Articles 370 and 35A, which guaranteed the special status of Jammu and Kashmir within the Union of India. In this regard, you and your government claimed that it would pave the way for the development of Jammu and Kashmir. It would eradicate the poverty and create new job opportunities for young generation of Kashmiris. Even though the state of Jammu and Kashmir was doing good enough on Human Development Index (HDI) and Grass Domestic Product (GDP) indicators against the most of the states of India. If the development of the state was the purpose in mind, then we doubt because this decision was taken in the middle of the tourist season and also when the Amarnath Yatra was going on. This decision could have been delayed till winter when normally schools would be on winter break and also low tourist season.
In addition, your government claimed that this decision would fully integrate the state with Union of India and also it would bring terrorism down. Only an illogical person can think of eradicating terrorism and integration of a certain area by forced decisions. There is feeling in most of the Kashmiris that it would alienate them more and also it will grow more radicalization. We were there in Kashmir during the first 35 days of curfew. Everyone we spoke to was saying the same thing that they are humiliated and deceived by the government of India. They fear that there might be rise in violence and it would take more innocent lives of Kashmiris. Even the prime minister of Pakistan, Mr. Imran Khan, whose country you blame for terrorism in India has said that it would bring more and more Pulwama like attacks.
Moreover, Indian media and your government is propagating that Kashmiris are happy for the decision of abrogating 370 and they are celebrating. Your misleading media is showing pictures of National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval roaming freely on the deserted streets of Kashmir, talking to few Kashmiris and having biryani. However, this media will not show that Ali Mohammad of Downtown, Srinagar or Ansar Wani of Soura, Srinagar were killed by security forces during this whole blackout. Then your home minister Amit Shah says [ek b goli nahi chali, ek b mriti nahi huyi] no bullet fired and no one killed. This is of grave concern that home minister of India is lying.
Let’s assume that Kashmiris are happy, they are celebrating this decision of abrogation of article 370 and everything is normal as you and your media is claiming. Questions arise under these circumstances: if everything is normal in Kashmir, why are Kashmiris caged? If Kashmiris are happy with the unilateral abrogation of Article 370 and 35A, why don’t you let them celebrate? If all is normal in Kashmir, why you cut off Kashmir from the rest of the world? If everything is normal, why mobile phones and Internet connectivity have been suspended in Kashmir for nearly two months? Mr. Modi, is there any country that has kept an entire population under lockdown and communication blackout for nearly two months? If all is well, why children have not been to schools in Kashmir? Why mainstream leaders are in jail? Most importantly, do India need almost 8, 00000 soldiers to fight around 2 hundred militants in Kashmir?
In the end, we would like to tell you dear Modi Ji, that there are other ways of doing politics and certainly there is whole life in front of us for this. This is not the way and this is not the time of doing politics by caging 8 million Kashmiri people. Enough is enough. Now let the humanity prevail and lift the curfew. Let the Kashmiris speak. Let the mother speak to her son whom she has not talked for a while now. You promised of better days for Kashmiris. It is has been almost 2 months now but those better days are far from the site. You speak of hugging and winning the hearts of Kashmiris. It would be a great hug if you let them speak and let the people of Kashmir decide their political future on their own.
By Sabzar Ahmad Bhat and Suhail Ahmad Lone