New Delhi: CPI(M) leader from Kashmir Mohd Yousuf Tarigami on Tuesday criticised the Centre for detaining former chief minister Farooq Abdullah under PSA and said that "people across the border are clapping" that the government has done what they could not.
Addressing a press conference with CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, the former member of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly said that whatever is happening in Kashmir is not in the interest of the country.
"We, Abdullah and others are not terrorists. It is such a horrible time. I am very disturbed," he said.
Tarigami slammed the government over scrapping of special status to Jammu and Kashmir and contested the government's stand that normalcy was returning to the Valley.
"How can they say that everything is under control? They are claiming that no one has been killed. I say people are dying a slow death, there is suffocation in the state," he said.
Tarigami said he was under house arrest since August 5, when the Centre announced abrogation of the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcation of the state into Union territories.
He was brought to the AIIMS here for treatment on the direction of the Supreme Court after it allowed Yechury to meet him in Srinagar and submit a report on his health condition.
"It has been 40 days of restrictions but the government claims there is normalcy. Do this in Delhi or any other city and see what is the situation of business, hospitals, schools and media," Tarigami said.
Alleging that the "very foundation of the unity of India with Kashmir is under assault", he said, "Listen to our version, the version of the people of Kashmir. We all want to live peacefully. I am not a foreigner. People of Jammu and Kashmir had decided to remain with secular India," Tarigami said.
"Today Kashmiri politicians are in jail, people sitting across the border are clapping that you have done what we could not," he said and hit out at the government for detaining NC leader Abdullah. What is happening in Kashmir is not in the interest of the country. Now Kashmiri people do not have much expectations with today's regime," he said.
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Tarigami said militancy can be tackled with the help of people but the government's policy is not helping in building trust.
"I want to ask, can you build trust among people by beating them, putting them in jails, suspending internet and telephone lines, crippling the daily life? Isn't it playing into the hands of the enemies of this country? he asked.
"The average Kashmiri doesn't ask for heavens, we just ask for a chance to march with you," the Kashmiri leader said.
CPI(M) General Secretary Yechury said that the ground situation in Kashmir is completely different from what the government is claiming.
He also criticised Abdullah's detention and said that the situation is "very serious" in the state.
"It has been more than 40 days since the abrogation of Article 370. There is complete breakdown of communication in the state. The communication gap is isolating people," he said.
"There is no public transport and also there have been reports of shortage in medicines and treatment at hospitals. The situation needs to be improved," Yechury said.
Downgrading and reorganising the state without consultation with its people shows the desperation of the Modi regime, he alleged.
Yechury termed Tarigami "a Kashmiri who stood by our democracy in the worst of times".
On Sunday night, Abdullah, the 81-year-old chief of the National Conference (NC), was detained under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).
He was under preventive detention at his house since August 5.
Several other leaders were detained or arrested on the day and restrictions imposed on communication and movement of people in Jammu and Kashmir.
The government has maintained that the steps were taken to maintain law and order and prevent any loss of life.
Restrictions have since been lifted in Jammu and Ladakh regions.
The curbs have been eased in the Valley, though mobile and internet services are still suspended, according to officials.