Union Home Minister Amit Shah describing the alliance of mainstream political parties of Jammu and Kashmir as a “gang” has shown India and its democracy in extremely poor light, Congress leader Saifuddin Soz said on Wednesday, blaming the BJP for “great damage” to the country’s democratic system.
Mr Shah had hit out at the political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday with a string of accusations that included getting “foreign forces to intervene” in the centre’s decision to scrap the erstwhile state’s special powers, taking away the rights of women and Dalits and bringing back “terror and turmoil”.
In a series of tweets, he also targeted the Congress – a signatory of last year’s Gupkar Declaration that forged the coalition – and labelled the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration or PGAD the “Gupkar Gang” which he said was an “unholy global gathbandhan” against the country’s national interest.
In a statement, Mr Soz said, “It is really unfortunate that the Home Minister, Amit Shah, had to stoop so low and call the democratic political parties from Kashmir a “gang”.
“He has shown India and its democracy in extremely poor light when it called Kashmir mainstream’s togetherness as ‘Gupkar Gang’,” the Congress leader said.
The BJP-led central government has already caused “great damage” to the system of governance in India by suggesting only it can safeguard India’s democratic system, Mr Soz said.
“The present-day governance at the centre has brought a bad name to India and its democracy and it is now a great jolt to the entire system that togetherness of Kashmir mainstream is seen as a threat to India’s democratic system,” he said.
“One wonders why the democratic activity by Kashmir Mainstream Parties – the NC, INC, PDP, PC, ANC and others is seen as a disruption by the Home Minister and others,” he added.
By not accepting the coalition in Kashmir, was the home minister waiting for a set-up that was not democratic, Mr Soz asked.
“As for J&K state, the constitutional relationship with the union has already received a severe setback in recent years and the damage seems to be irreparable,” he said, referring to last year’s decision to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s decades-old special status and dividing it into two union territories.
Two days before the move, the Gupkar Declaration was signed on August 4, 2019, after an all-party meeting at the Gupkar Road residence National Conference patriarch Farooq Abdullah. It marked a resolution of attending regional parties and the Congress to protect Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status and fight against any move to dilute it.
This August, the political parties had met again and announced the formation of the PGAD, vowing to fight for the restoration of the former status.