SRINAGAR: Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) on Saturday ridiculed the “outrageous” and “dictatorial” ordinance which calls for imprisonment of those who call for protests that can result in damage to public or private properties.
Damaging either public or private property, and calling for a shut-down or protest in which such damage can occur, will invite punishment after Governor N N Vohra on Thursday promulgated ‘The Jammu and Kashmir Public Property (Prevention of Damage) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017’.
In a statement, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, said that shutdowns were universally accepted as a democratic and peaceful way of protest and resistance. “Fixing a punishment for it reflects the totalitarian and repressive mind-set of the anti-people regime,” the statement said.
The leadership said tall claims of ‘healing touch’ and ‘battle of ideas’ by chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and her party before coming to power have all come to naught and her coalition has broken all records of “atrocities”.
“During her regime, killing, blinding, arresting and detaining people and leadership, arson, vandalising of public properties, harassment, propaganda, onslaught and other forms of repression have touched a new low,” the leadership said. “She (Mehbooba) along with her coterie of opportunists has further eroded whatever was left (for) the people of the state.”
The leaders accused the chief minister of eroding the economic autonomy of the state through the implementation of GST. “As her tenure (passes), so do her compromises with regard to the interests of the people of Kashmir who are under assault from all fronts,” the leaders said. “Even the basic right to protest through shutdowns against these moves and constant assaults is now being denied and made punishable.”
The leadership said the ordinance was aimed at instilling fear of retribution and punishment among the leadership and the people of Kashmir to discourage them from raising their voice against oppression. “Like all such previous repressive measures, (this ordinance) is (also) bound to fail,” it said.
“Shutdown is an accepted and acknowledged way of resisting oppression and injustice across the world. The resistance leadership will continue with this right, no matter how much government would tries to choke our voice,” the statement said.