“August 5 was a dark day for me, a day, as dark as it can get. I see August 5 as an unconscionable act of betrayal of the Kashmiri people,” says Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone.
Lone says the move to abrogate Article 370, was a spiteful one, reeking of political vengeance. “Hatred apart, the problem is that the ruling class in Delhi seems to have a rudimentary understanding of Kashmir, the history of Kashmir, the secularist perspective of Kashmir, and the geopolitical footprint of Kashmir,” Lone wrote in his blog post.
Lone was arrested on August 5 last year and was booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA). He was released only recently. According to him Article 370, Article 35A, and Jammu and Kashmir’s special status reflected the soul of Delhi’s relationship with Kashmir. “You remove it- it becomes a soulless relationship. It was an anchor linked to history, it was the justification. It was a precious relic. They just threw it away. And amongst the ruins, the Kashmiris, now are muted people, helpless bystanders in their own land forced into a soulless existence,” Lone said.
Lone claimed that the process of dilution of Article 370 and political disempowerment of the region started quite early. “Over the past seven decades, every exiting generation of leaders passed on a politically poorer J&K to the new generation. We have nothing but fear and tales of betrayal to pass on to the next generation,” he adds.
Lone also questioned Delhi’s rhetoric on pronouncing the abrogation of Article 370 as a victory. “There are people in Delhi who went on to celebrate and pronounce victory. Victory against whom. Whom have they vanquished? Are they at war with Kashmiris? Are they not their own people? Mark my words. August 5 did not end on August 5. It will be a long, long day spanning over years,” he wrote. Lone also added that Kashmiris were being pushed against the wall and accused Delhi of embarking on a harsh policy of dealing with Kashmiris. He also said that post August 5 last year, mainstream political parties in the valley have had to choose between Delhi and the Kashmiri people. He also added that the Gupkar declaration will be a guiding force and will decide the way forward in Kashmir.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine