New Delhi: A group of farmers reportedly came together in Bathinda, Punjab on Tuesday (September 10) to protest against the government’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcate the state into two union territories.
According to a report in The Tribune, the farmers’ leaders made a number of very strong demands. “Kashmiris should be given freedom and right to take their own decision. Freedom given to the corporate houses to loot people should end. The restrictions imposed in Kashmir should be removed. Army should be called back, AFSPA should be repealed and those arrested should be released,” they were quoted as saying.
Bharatiya Kisan Union Ekta Ugrahan senior vice-president Jhanda Singh Jethuke, Harvinder Bindu, Shingara Singh Mann, Mothu Singh Kotra, Harjinder Singh Bagga, Zora Singh, Sewak Singh, Tirath Singh Kotguru and Ashwani Kumar were some of the leaders who spoke at the protest, the newspaper reported.
“For the last 72 years, the ruling parties have tried to suppress the Kashmiri people. While sending the Army, it was promised that after restoration of normalcy, Kashmiris will be given right to choose the country they want to join or formation of a separate country,” the farmers reportedly said.
During the protest, farmers’ leaders also reportedly alleged that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Bajrang Dal and other organisations with a similar ideology have been targeting Dalits and minorities.
On August 5, the Narendra Modi government read down Article 370 and revoked Article 35 of the constitution. Since then, there has been a communication blockade and restrictions on movement in the Kashmir Valley. Hundreds of political workers, including two former chief ministers, have been detained.
The Centre also announced that the state of Jammu and Kashmir will be bifurcated into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.