Jamaat-E-Islami Demands Release Of All Political Prisoners To Hold Free And Fair Elections In Jammu And Kashmir
NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 1—Jamaat-e-Islami Hind(JIH) has demanded that all political prisoners of Jammu and Kashmir be released, democratic process and fundamental rights of people, including freedom of expression, mobile telephony and internet communication, and all modes of private and public transport, be restored to ensure free and fair elections.
The demand was made in reaction to state government’s announcement about holding of block development council (BDC) elections which is scheduled on October 24.
Addressing mediapersons at JIH headquarters here on Tuesday, JIH president Syed Sadatullah Hussaini said that the government must fulfill three conditions before going ahead with holding of BDC elections for free and fair elections. “It must release political detainees, restore democratic process and fundamental rights of the people including communication modes, and end the climate of fear and terror”, he said.
Jamaat president categorically pointed out that free and fair elections would be doubtful under the existing circumstances.
He also demanded holding of assembly elections in the state along with BDC polls.
In response to a question, he expressed grave concern over harassment of the common people and all communication channels like mobile phones and internet connections remaining shut for the last two months and cutting the Kashmiris from the rest of the world. “What will happen to you if your mobile phone is taken away from you just for 24 hours?” he asked the journalists.
Proper Process Not Followed To Abroagate Artivcle 370
Reiterating his organisation’s stand, Hussaini said that the process adopted to abrogate Article 370 that provided the state with special status, was not proper. He said that the Centre must have taken consent of J&K’s elected assembly before withdrawing Article 370 as per Indian Constitutional law.
He said that the government must utilize services of economic experts to solve economic crisis, increasing unemployment and industrial slowdown in the country.
He refused to answer questions with regard to stand of other Muslim organisations and leaders on J&K issue. “I can’t speak on behalf of other organisations and their leaders”, he said.
Neither Army Nor Militancy Can Solve J & K Problem
Earlier, Jamaat’s vice-president Engineer Mohammed Saleem said that issue of J&K could be solved neither by use of force by the Army nor through militancy. ``It can be solved through mutual trust based on justice and honesty’’.
“But it is unfortunate that the government has not till date taken any concrete step to solve the issue or improve the situation in Kashmir”, Saleem said.
“In fact, the steps taken by the Centre has only added to worsening of the situation”, Jamaat’s VP observed.
He said that reducing J&K into two union territories was a joke with Indian democracy. It had tarnished the image of India abroad.
He also expressed concern over virtual conversion of the Kashmir valley into open jail, deployment of excessive force to quell protests and severe shortage of medicine and health facilities.
On economic front, the Jamaat felt that adhoc measures taken by the government to boost the sagging Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would not help. Both Hussaini and Saleem suggested paradigm shift from interest-based banking to interestless or ethnic banking to boost production and consumption. They said that if consumption went up, it would result into spending and boosting economic activity leading to creation of jobs and ending the current economic slowdown.
But the government, Saleem said, was trying to hide the real problems by by raising emotional issues. The government, he said, was not taking concrete steps to create jobs. Gross Domestic Product(GDP) had fallen to its lowest of 5 per cent and further below five per cent in case of eight core sectors. Small scale industries were badly hit by GST. There were also complaints about refund of GST to industrialists and traders. Banks were riddled with Non-Performing Assets(NPA) problems and Non-Banking Financial Companies(NBFC) were facing existential crisis.