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Scrapping Article 370 was ‘marital rape’, assault on faith of J&K, says PDP’s Naeem Akhtar

In an exclusive interview to ThePrint, Naeem Akhtar says PDP will use all democratic, constitutional and peaceful means to resist this onslaught on Kashmir and its Muslim character.

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Srinagar: Senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader and former cabinet minister of Jammu and Kashmir Naeem Akhtar Monday said the decisions taken by the Narendra Modi government, including scrapping of Article 370 and the Citizenship Amendment Act, have rekindled the Hindu versus Muslim discourse, and created a ‘South Asian Ummah’ (Muslim unity), extending from Khyber (in Pakistan) to Chittagong in Bangladesh.

In an exclusive interview to ThePrint ahead of the first anniversary of the government’s Article 370 move, Akhtar described the decision as “marital rape”.

“I would compare the 5 August decision with marital rape because a marriage is done according to rules, according to law, but then there is one party which enforces itself on the other. That is what happened to Kashmir on 5 August. We were part of a covenant, a Constitution, which was used against us to achieve goals that were antitheses of why we had joined the Union of India,” Akhtar, considered the closest adviser of PDP chief and former CM Mehbooba Mufti, told ThePrint.

On 5 August, the Modi government revoked Article 370 that granted special powers to J&K, and bifurcated the region into two union territories of J&K and Ladakh with and without an assembly, respectively.

PDP’s future

On National Conference vice-president and former J&K CM Omar Abdullah’s statement that he won’t contest the assembly elections until full statehood is restored, Akhtar said the PDP has its own view.

“That is Mr Omar Abdullah speaking for himself. PDP has its own agenda, its own view. Since our president (Mehbooba Mufti) is still (booked) under PSA (Public Safety Act), we will take a call on this,” he said.

“But I have no doubt in my mind that PDP believes that whatever happened on 5 August and later is a direct assault on the identity, faith and culture of Jammu and Kashmir, and Kashmir is its focus target. I don’t think with this being so, it can be business as usual,” said Akhtar, who was detained for around 11 months under the PSA after the Article 370 move.

“Right now, there aren’t many takers for mainstream politics in Kashmir. What Mr Syed Ali Shah Geelani would have done to transfer this anger and alienation against India, Mr Amit Shah has done.

“I don’t see much in our (PDP) politics, but that does not mean that we will not speak. We will certainly use all democratic, constitutional and peaceful means to resist this onslaught on Kashmir and its Muslim character. We will do whatever it takes, but we adopt and stick to democratic means,” said Akhtar, who has served as a close advisor of former Home Minister and J&K chief minister Mufti Sayeed.


Also read: This is how Pakistan plans to protest 1st anniversary of India scrapping Article 370


‘South Asian Ummah’

Akhtar also spoke about the alliance between the PDP and the BJP, saying: “During the time I was in detention, I understood the meaning for might is right. I understood that there can be no agreements between unequal parties, which is what happened in 1947 when Kashmir acceded to GOI, which is what happened post-2014, when PDP went in an alliance with BJP.”

Akhtar also spoke about the symbolism attached with the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya on 5 August. The bhoomi pujan ceremony of Ram Mandir will be held on 5 August, following which the construction of the temple will start.

“Why is this 5 August marked with Ram Mandir? Because the foundation stone of the Hindu Rashtra is Kashmir, which is now mortar brick and stone for Hindu Rashtra. Kashmir has been transformed into a Hindu versus Muslim problem — something which the people of Kashmir did not believe in,” said the 68-year-old leader. 

Akhtar also launched a scathing attack on “Hindutva politics” of the BJP and said the prevailing geo-political situation in south Asia will not bode well.

“Now if you see the murmurs from Bangladesh, an all-time friend of India, who owe their liberation to the Indian Army and the political leadership of India, what are they saying today? They have reservations about Ram Mandir.

“You have wittingly or unwittingly created a feeling of a sub-continental ummah from Khyber to Chittagong — by introducing CAA, by specifically making it about Hindus of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, and you told the world that India is Hindu. We welcome Hindus,” he added.

‘This was done because we were a Muslim majority state’

Akhtar also said that “in the new Hindutva framework, it is is like an abuse or a sore thumb to have a place called Muslim”.

“Why was this (scrapping Article 370) done? This was a question that I have asked myself frequently. This was done because we were a Muslim majority state.”

Akhtar said the 5 August move was to simply erase “the Muslim dark spot from the bright shining Hindutva map”.

“It was to convert this state into a Hindu majority state. BJP leaders have been saying it openly that we will have a Hindu CM in J&K because they will never be comfortable with a CM wearing a Karakulli (traditional Kashmiri cap) or a headscarf. It is being projected by the BJP as a matter of shame that Babur ki aulad (Babar’s children) are still in Kashmir,” said Akhtar.


Also read: Revoking Article 370 lends new edge to China-Pakistan nexus against India, says rights forum


‘Biggest let down’

The PDP leader further said: “We have to understand how GOI has considered J&K and it has for a long time, even before 5 August, (considered it) as a security project… this place, which had voluntarily gone over to India and was the only Muslim entity, perhaps the only entity in 1,400 years of Islamic history that gave itself to a non-Muslim secular state. It was unprecedented.

“Our forefathers had joined India thinking that our civilisation will be preserved in a secular democratic India rather than a theocratic country. What was done on 5 August was that a final blow was delivered to this feeling and, in doing that, GOI expected that there would be a massive response to it from the people so they tried to gag everybody and they did it very successfully and unfortunately the rest of the country endorsed this,” he added.

“It was the biggest let down for the people of Kashmir. The media, the Parliament, the judiciary, the intellectuals — nobody spoke for us and a manufactured discourse led entire country to believe that Kashmir has now been conquered and it was projected as a Hindu victory over a Muslim state,” he said.

Responding to a question on why he thought PDP president Mehbooba Mufti continues to be booked under the controversial Public Safety Act, the former minister said, “The Government of India closed all channels of expression and unprecedented drive of arrest was launched, thousands of mainstream workers, who have been facing bullets and all kinds of social ostracisation were hauled up.

“Jails upto Tamil Nadu are filled with Kashmiris, lawyers, traders, activists and politicians. I think after that they did some assessment of malleability of leadership and in that perhaps finding Mehbooba Mufti still a problem in their plan… her detention was extended,” Akhtar said.

Akhtar also said that he was approached by government officials on three occasions asking him to retire from politics in return for his release. “I told them that thousands of Kashmiri boys are going into their graves. What difference will it make if another old man dies in an Indian prison,” he said.

“It is time for every Kashmiri to think beyond parties because there is nothing to fight for. What is there to fight for? There is an existential threat to Muslims of the state and it is no less to non-Muslims of Jammu, who face the same threat.”

“Why did Shiv Sena come into existence in Maharashtra? It was not against Muslims, it was against outsiders who Balasaheb Thackeray at that time thought were taking away jobs and land from the inhabitants. It is happening in Jammu as we speak… Jobs, lands being taken, the first wave of demographic change is coming to Jammu,” he added.


Also read: Explained: This is what Modi govt has done to scrap Article 370, 35A in Jammu & Kashmir


 

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Why giving importance to Nayeem Akhtar of PDP ? He is antinational to the core and supporting antinational elements while serving in the government of Jammu and Kashmir.

    • I agree with you.Stop talking to people who have not been democratically elected to any constituency but are thugs.

  2. The exclusive interview talks about every thing other than the “ETHNIC CLEANING OF THE PUNDITS”
    Marital Rape is subject that only the people like the interviewee can talk about with authority.
    Anyway never heard of a rape being supported by majority in both the houses.
    370 & 35A is gone and just like the covid better learn to live with it.

  3. The author is totally unreasonable in his views, as the 370 is temporary in nature, and in his lifetime , many hindus were made homeless in their own state and he thinks nothing of it and only when a temporary provision 370 abolished he projects muslims are oppressed. Rediculous. PDP and NC and a host of many kashmiri parties join with the congress or janata or bjp to enjoy power , but when a constitutionally valid measure ( abolishion of 370) takes place he felt offended and feels muslims are done against with. And all along terrorists were having a free hand, and if indian government takes some concrete steps for countering pakistan our permanent enemy the kashmiris are showing concern. Totally unreasonable.

    • I am not aware of one incident of mob lynching of a Hindu in Kashmir while the incidents of mob lynchings of Muslims on the pretext of eating beef (No one in north east or South India has been lynched for this though beef eating of cow in north east and buffalo in south india is widespread).10 million Hindus , Sikhs and Muslims were rendered homeless in 1947 and more than a million killed but Kashmir remained peaceful,Why? Do you know of a man called Jagmohan and the role he played in making some pandits leave Kashmir? Do you know that in 1990’s a man named Jagmohan facilitated the movement of truck loads of youth across the border so that they would be got rid off and simultaneously Pakistan branded a terrorist State? Do you know that this policy failed only because Iraq invaded Kuwait and all the world’s attention shifted to Middle East and Kashmir was relegated to the back burner? This was just as at present the Citizenship Register, and plans of demographic change in Kashmir have been disrupted as China has moved into Ladakh. Have you heard of Muzaffarnagar and people made homeless by mob attacks while not a single incident of Mob violence has ever occurred in Kashmir? A man named Ajit Doval can tell you many things that will astonish you !

  4. It is surprising or maybe unsurprising that not only the PDP but even the National Conference has forgotten about the significance of 5th August in Kashmir’s history.. It was in 1938 that the Muslim Conference (which later became the National Conference) headed by Sheikh Abdullah gave the call for observing 5th August 1938 as Responsible Government day. This was a revolutionary step for till then the National Conference was chiefly agitating for more jobs and other facilities for Muslims changed tack and started agitating for the change from feudal rule by a Hindu Maharajah to a responsible government in which all people of the State irrespective of caste,creed or religion would be stake holders. Some Hindus and Sikhs including Jia Lal Kilam, Kashyap Bandhu and Sardar Budh Singh supported this demand and took part in Drafting the National Demands Document.This led to a National Demands agitation which was supported by All India States People Conference led by Jawaharlal Nehru. The National Demands document was adopted first by the people of Rajkot and then by people of many other Princely States kick starting a struggle for responsible government in all Princely States. The movement against feudal rule and the anger against feudal rulers was according to Ian Copland used by Patel and Menon to persuade the rulers of Princely States ruled by Hindu Rulers to submit to the rule of a secular Congress. BJP considers the 5th August Responsible Government Day celebrated on 5th August 1938 in Kashmir as responsible for the ultimate replacement of Hindu Rule by a secular rule and hence its choice of 5th August for fragmenting and destroying the Jammu and Kashmir State. It is most surprising that even the National Conference has not drawn the attention of the people to this showing the disconnect of the present leaders from History in which the founder of the party played a prominent role.

    • References:

      IAN COPLAND “The Integration of The Princely States: A Bloodless Revolution ? in D.A.Low,Howard Brasted(Eds) (1998) Freedom, Trauma,Continuities, Northern India and Independence. Sage Publications New Delhi, California, London ISBN 817036-680-1.  pages 153-173

      SHEIKH ABDULLAH- A BIOGRAPHY ( The Crucial Period 1905-1939) By Syed Taffazull Hussain. Available for free download at Google Books pages 277-290 and page 302

  5. Why not a single query asked on ruthless and systematic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits ? What was PDP’s role in it.?

  6. If scrapping 370 was marital rape then I want to ask following question to this fellow or mr javaid who is the torch bearer of this regions reporting

    1. Why 7 lakh migrants from west Pakistan were not given citizenship of JK

    2. Why these 7 lakh migrants were not given any voting rights

    3. Why valmiki community were not given citizenship of JK

    4. Why this community and their future generations were deemed suitable only for sweeping and cleaning jobs as per the JK constitutional article

    5. Why Islamic sharia was imposed in JK in our secular country

    6. Why 1 lakh rohingyas were given citizenship while migrants and valmiki community could get in these 70 years

    7. Why through roshni act govt land were given to Arabs of Kashmir valley illegally

    8. Why 6 lakh Kashmiri Hindus were raped, murdered, plundered and driven away from their centuries old soil and forced to be refugee in their own country.

    If the author thinks his journalism of impeccable integrity then we are waiting for his answers and research of all these question on the print.

    There is very slim chance we will have answers to these questions but I am positive this face of Kashmiriyat, insaaniyat and jamhooriyat will have some victim card of Kashmiri Arabs.

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