By Shuriah Niazi
NEW DELHI (AA) – Several opposition parties in India on Thursday came together, demanding release of detained political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir.
The protest at the initiative of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), a dominant regional party in southern most province of Tamil Nadu, saw main opposition Congress, the Left and others also joining, to express solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
According to the Human Rights Watch (HRW), since Aug. 5, when the Indian government revoked special status to the region, hundreds of people including business and political leaders, have been arrested and some of them lodged in far off prisons.
Two former chief minister Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti are under arrest and lodged in a makeshift prison. Another former chief minister Farooq Abdullah is under house arrest.
Addressing the gathering, top Left leader Sitaram Yechury, said the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government has manipulated the constitution, by handing over Jammu and Kashmir to the military.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is from Jammu and Kashmir, lamented that he was not allowed to visit his home town.
“I tried to visit the state twice but was sent back,” said Azad, who is also a former chief minister of the region.
Another Left leader D Raja, said democracy has been strangulated in the country.
The political parties adopted a resolution demanding immediate release of public representatives and innocent civilians.
They also asked for immediate restoration of communications so that people can reach out to their family members.
“There has been a chilling crackdown on free speech and right of assembly. Such actions go against the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution and need to be immediately reversed,” the resolution said.