Delhi pushing Kashmiris from ‘frying pan to fire’: KEA on Jama’at ban

by Salma Masood

Srinagar: Weeks after the central government banned Jama’at-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir for five years under “anti-terror law” on grounds that it was in “close touch” with militant outfits and was expected to “escalate secessionist movement” in the state, the Kashmir trade organisations jointly denounced the ban and said that centre is pushing the people of Kashmir from “frying pan to fire”.

On Monday, the chairman of KEA and head of Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) Haji Muhammad Yasin Khan, along with the members of Federation Chamber Industries Kashmir (FCIK), All Transport Welfare Association addressed the media persons at Sonwar Srinagar.

Trade associations’ addressing media persons in Srinagar on Monday, March 4, 2019.

Speaking on the occasion Khan said that Jama’at is not only a religious institution but also a social institute which works meticulously for the welfare of people. “Let’s not forget the service this institute did, be it a catastrophic earthquake of 2005 or 2014 floods, Jama’at impartially helped everybody whosoever needed the help,” the Chairman said.

“We are not a political association but we want to ask the government what does it plan to do about the schools and mosques run by Jama’at. What will happen to the students and people going to these institutions,” he said expressing concern about the crackdown on the members of the institution.

The panel appealed the Government of India (GoI) and the State Administrative Council (SAC) to relook at the decision of banning Jama’at and stop the uncalled “crackdown” on people and “arrest spree” in Kashmir.

They also criticised the systematic attempts to erode the special status of Jammu and Kashmir guaranteed by Article 35A of the Indian constitution. “If this article is tinkered not only the bond with Delhi will break down, but also a fiery situation will be created which no effort will be able to douse thereafter, “ said one of the speakers while addressing media.

“Jammu and Ladakh region will be affected the most if the article is abolished. We will not let anyone take away our identity and irrecoverably damage our economy, “the speakers emphasised.

They blamed the decisions of the government for worsening the situation in Kashmir. “Delhi has always said it wants peace but then it bans our institutes, tries to remove the special status which ultimately pushes the people from frying pan to fire,” they said.

“As tourism and business have already taken the back seat in Kashmir now the government is attacking the academics by unmindfully extending vacations due to which student community is losing precious time of the session,” one of the members said.

In addition to this, they mentioned that the frequent shutdown of highway has led unavailability essential stocks and the government is busy with decisions further aggravating the sufferings of the public.

The members said that they are given the title of civil society and stakeholders yet they are denied the space to protest or voice their concerns. Hence, the trade organisation has jointly called for a day-long strike on Tuesday, March 5, 2019.

They trade members also asked the masses to remain away from biased media channels who are free to spread the false news and mislead the people.

Pertinently, days after the ban on the Jama’at outfit, besides sealing its offices and institutions, dozens of its leaders and activists were arrested from different parts of the valley. So far, many politicians and religious clerks have denounced the centre’s move towards the outfit.

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