Respect democratic aspiration of J

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New Delhi, Sep 9 (UNI) Political and human rights activists, intellectuals and working class leaders assembled at a public meeting here today and supported the 'democratic aspirations' of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and said, ''respecting their right to self-determination is the only way forward''.

The meeting, organised jointly by the Delhi-based PUCL, PUDR and Janhastekshep (a People's Intervention Group) held, ''Erosion of Article 370, along with India and Pakistan resiling from their commitment to refer the matter to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, has been the major reason for irresolution of the issue for past 61 years.'' And the massive outpouring on the streets of Srinagar and elswhere in the Kashmir valley ''ought to be met with a meaningful political dialogue which should take in account the 'right to self-determination','' they said in a resolution adopted at the end of the meeting.

Referring to the recent developments, the speakers said the two-month long agitation and counter-agitation in Jammu and Kashmir saw the Indian State shunning its secular credentials as the security forces, while dealing with Kashmiri protesters, who turned out in lakhs, shot dead thirty people in just four days from August 11 to 14.

In contrast to the Kashmir Valley agitation, the protests in Jammu, which were spearheaded by the BJP and Congress, were conducted as what was essentially ''an anti-minority'' agitation, the resolution added.

Instead of breaking the ''economic blocade'' that ''imperilled the 'right-to-life' in valley'', the top leaders of Jammu participated in blocking the goods traffic.

The speakers alleged that the Jammu and Kashmir government's agreement with the Sangarsh Samiti of Jammu was a step towards ''appeasement of the Hindutva forces''. In fact, they alleged that repression by the security forces was accompanied by the ''politics of manipulation and empty promises on the part of the government which was now being concretised in holding of the Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir.

The activists, in the resolution, urged the government to withdraw all ''black laws like AFSPA, Disturbed Area Act and PSA as well as the Armed forces deployed in the Valley and the security forces should avoid trageting the non-violent and unarmed people.

UNI JSS SBC HT2122

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