Restore Fundamental Rights Of J&K People, Mehbooba Writes To CJI

SRINAGAR: Former Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti has written to the Chief Justice of India, seeking the top court’s intervention in ensuring human rights and constitutional guarantees to the people of the Jammu and Kashmir.

In her letter to Justice DY Chandrachud, Mufti said the fundamental rights enshrined in the Indian Constitution and guaranteed to all its citizens were being brazenly impinged upon in J&K.

Here is the full text of the letter:

Hon’ble Chief Justice of India

Sir,

I write to you with a deep sense of concern & worry about the prevailing situation in the country especially J&K. Your recent observations on the inability of lower judiciary to grant bail in ordinary cases in a functioning democracy as ours should have been adopted as a directive rather than just being consigned to a single column story churned out in newspapers. The fundamental rights enshrined in the Indian constitution & guaranteed to all Indian citizens are being brazenly impinged upon. Unfortunately it is these basic rights that have now become luxuries & entitlements bestowed upon only those select citizens who toe the Government’s line on political, social & religious matters. And more worryingly, to those who actively contribute and not obstruct GOIs idea of an India where its strengths of diversity, religious pluralism & tolerance must be weeded out & crushed to lay the foundations of a one religion nation where minorities are relegated to the social, political & economic fringes.

As far as J&K is concerned, the grip of GOIS iron fisted policy is being justified in the name of national security & interest. Since 2019, the fundamental rights of every resident of J&K have been suspended arbitrarily & the constitutional guarantees given at the time of J&Ks accession were suddenly & unconstitutionally abrogated.

In any civilised society, upholding the truth is the norm but in J&K, the freedom of expression and speech to state the obvious has become the biggest casualty. Draconian anti terror laws like UAPA are slapped ruthlessly on flimsy & trivial grounds. All government agencies be it ED, NIA or CBI are used to hound businessmen, political leaders & even youngsters. Hundreds of our youngsters are languishing in jails outside J&K as undertrials. Their condition is exacerbated since they belong to poor families who lack the wherewithal to get legal aid and in such circumstances, the least & humane decision this government could take is to shift them to J&K.

All this is happening at a time when the trust deficit and growing alienation has only widened since 2019. Passports being a fundamental right are impounded with full impunity. Journalists are being jailed and even prevented from flying out of country. Even a Pulitzer award winning young photojournalist was denied her right to fly abroad to receive the award. Journalists like Fahad Shah & Sajad Gul have been jailed under UAPA & PSA since over a year now for simply shining light on excesses committed by the Indian Government. The only ember of hope in these bleak circumstances is the judiciary which only can right these wrongs. However it saddens me to say that so far our experience with the judiciary has not inspired much confidence.

Bail is an exception not the norm with recent examples of Stan Swamy, Sudha Bharwaj, Siddique Kappan, Umar Khalid & countless others substantiating it. In my own habeas corpus case filed by my daughter in 2019, it took the Supreme Court well over a year to order my release while I was arbitrarily detained under PSA. Another example is my aged mother’s passport that has been arbitrarily withheld by the Government. Its been over two years since we filed a petition in J&K High Court. Here too, we are given date after date with no decision in sight. This in addition to my daughter Iltija’s & my passport being withheld for no obvious reason. I have cited these examples only to drive home the fact that if my own fundamental rights being a former Chief Minister and an MP can be so easily suspended you can well imagine the plight of common people. My mother too is the wife of a former Union Home Minister, a senior statesman and two time chief minister & her passport was rejected on unknown grounds.

There are countless examples of common citizens, journalists, mainstream political workers and social activists who are bearing the brunt of such oppressive arbitrary decisions that trample upon their core rights & freedoms. A senior citizen like Stan Swamy died as a prisoner begging for bare necessities like a sipper and a straw.

However I choose not to be overwhelmed with pessimism & despair. I have the highest respect & unflinching faith in the courts of our country. Unfortunately it is also my last refuge of hope in such bleak and despondent times that the judiciary will fulfil its duty. I fervently hope that with your intervention justice is delivered and the people of J&K see their expectations of dignity, human rights, constitutional guarantees and a democratic polity realised which had inspired their forefathers to join Mahatama Gandhi’s India.

With regards Mehbooba Mufti

Shri DY Chandrachud Hon’ble Chief Justice of India Supreme Court of India New Delhi.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here