NWMI condemns scrapping of Article 370

ITANAGAR, Aug 5: The Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI), an association of more than 500 media women across India, has condemned the revocation of Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu & Kashmir, along with allied bills introduced as executive orders in Parliament.
“This move takes away the original promise of a special status made to the people of Jammu & Kashmir when they agreed to be part of the Indian union at the time of independence,” the NWMI stated in a release, and blamed the Centre for making the decision “without consulting the people of the state or discussing the matter in the parliament.”
“These unilateral actions further disenfranchise an already disenchanted people. The bifurcation of the state and making Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh into separate union territories, the latter without even a legislature, is a blatant attempt to ensure further control by the Centre, promotion of political appointees, and marginalization of the people of Jammu & Kashmir from political matters,” it said.
The NWMI said the move had been made in “unseemly haste and in a climate of fear sharpened by the deployment of huge numbers of troops.”
The organisation also criticized what it called “the massive clampdown on democratic freedoms and civil liberties” in Jammu & Kashmir in the last few days, including internet shutdown and placing politicians under house arrest.
“The lack of honesty and transparency that preceded the move, along with the circumvention of democratic process, are ominous for the survival of democracy, and consequently for the right to freedom of expression, the right to information and for media freedom itself,” the NWMI said.
It demanded an “urgent and wide-ranging public debate on the matter, which must include civil society, journalists, lawyers and citizens alarmed at the apparent hijacking of the constitution.
“Until such widely held consultation is undertaken in a peaceful and democratic manner, we demand that the constitutional safeguard of the rights of the people of Jammu & Kashmir be restored to them forthwith,” it said.