"Kashmiris Slowly Dying, They Feel Suffocated," Says Left Leader

Mr Tarigami -- who was held under house arrest in Srinagar since the government ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 4 -- was shifted to Delhi today for medical treatment following the orders of the Supreme Court.

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For over 40 days, Srinagar has had no internet or medical facilities, Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said.


New Delhi: 

The Centre's security measures in Jammu and Kashmir are slowly "suffocating" the  people, Kashmir's Left leader Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami said today. "They claim nobody has died, people are slowly dying, they feel suffocated. We want to live too, we should be given the chance too," he told reporters at a press conference with party leader Sitaram Yechury.

Mr Tarigami -- who was held under house arrest in Srinagar since the government ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 4 -- was shifted to Delhi today for medical treatment following the orders of the Supreme Court.

The detention and arrest of political leaders have been part of the Centre's security measures to prevent a backlash after its announcement on August 4, ending special status for Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcating the state into two union territories.

For over 40 days, Srinagar has had no internet or medical facilities, Mr Tarigami said.

"Shops aren't open, schools aren't open. There has been no public transport... For more than 40 days, people have been unable to do any work to earn anything. Large section of people work daily and earn, their families live on that basis. The communication breakdown is isolating people," he said.

The government has repeatedly said the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is moving towards normal. Last week, at the UN Human Rights Council, it had detailed how the restrictions were being eased. The Rights body was assured that despite the "challenging circumstances", the administration was ensuring basic services, essential supplies, normal functioning of institutions, mobility and nearly full connectivity.

The government has also said cellphone services in Jammu and Kashmir is being restored in a phased manner.

Mr Tarigami said the government's move has only loosened the bonds between Kashmir and the rest of India. "The bonds that were created by people of Kashmir and rest of the nation, those bonds have been assaulted. Farooq (Abdullah) and others are not terrorists," he said, referring to the octogenarian patriarch of the National Conference, who has been under house arrest since August 5.

Mr Abdullah has been charged under the Public Safety Act (PSA), which allows arrest or detention for up to two years without trial.  The three-time Chief Minister was the first to be booked under the law since the security measures were announced.

"In my affidavit (to the Supreme Court) I have stated that the situation in Kashmir is completely contradictory and not what the government is claiming... The manner in which this happened is very serious. This has to be resolved at the earliest," said Mr Yechury, who had filed the petition in th Supreme Court regarding medical help for Mr Tarigami.   

The CPM had also claimed Mr Tarigami's house arrest was "illegal" as there were no charges against him and no detention order had been issued.



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