Restore rights of Kashmiris: Chidambaram after release
New Delhi: Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram arrives to address a press conference at AICC HQ in New Delhi, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. (PTI Photo/Vijay Verma)
New Delhi, Dec 5:
Breathing the air of freedom after 106 days made him first think about the 75
lakh people of the Kashmir valley, former finance minister P Chidambaram said
on Thursday, a day after he was released from Tihar jail.
“As I stepped out
and breathed the air of freedom at 8pm last night, my first thought and prayers
were for the 75 lakh people of the Kashmir valley who have been denied their
basic freedoms since August 5, 2019,” the Congress leader said at a press
conference, his first after the Supreme Court granted him bail in the INX media
South African president Nelson Mandela, Chidambaram said “freedom is
indivisible” as he called for the restoration of the rights of Kashmiris, who
have been placed under severe restrictions for over four months now.
Mandela quote from his autobiography was based on his belief that once freedom
of anyone is restricted, it can start an irreversible decline that is difficult
“If we must
preserve our freedom, we must fight for their freedom,” said Chidambaram in
lines that again recalled Mandela’s fight for liberty of all.
also expressed concern for the political leaders of Kashmir, who he said have
been detained without charges. “If the government allows me, I will
definitely visit Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
Almost the entire
mainstream political class of Kashmir, including former chief ministers Farooq
Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, with whose Peoples Democratic Party
the BJP had at one time formed government in Jammu and Kashmir, are still under
had placed the Valley under a security lockdown as it moved to revoke the
special constitutional status of the Muslim-majority region on August 5 by
deploying thousands of additional troops and imposing a communication blackout.
restrictions have since been lifted, several still remain, including the
blackout on internet services.
maintains these detentions and restrictions are necessary to prevent trouble
makers from fanning tensions. The Congress party, along with others in the
opposition, has raised the issue of the prolonged clampdown on rights during
the Parliament session, but the government insists that this situation is