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Civil rights groups demand restoration of Art 370

Scores of people from different organisations, including the AISA and the AIDWA, gathered at the Jantar Mantar here on Thursday demanding restoration of Article 370 of the Constitution.

They expressed solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir and demanded that the government restore Article 370 and give full statehood to the Union territory.

The programme was organised by the AIDWA, AISA, ANHAD, DASAM, DSG, DTF, IPTA, Khudai Khidmatgar, NAPM, NFIW, OBR India, PIPFPD, RYA, Sangwari, SFI and Youth Alliance for Peace.

Shabnam Hashmi, an activist, said the situation in Jammu and Kashmir was pretty grim.

“All the democratic institutions have crumbled. They (government) have made it a Union territory. A Union territory has to have new laws, but such laws are not being enacted. This government seems to be clueless about how to handle the administration in Jammu and Kashmir.

“The economy is in bad shape and political leaders are still under arrest. After controlling Jammu and Kashmir through the governor”s rule, they still do not know where to take the Union territory. We demand that full statehood be given back to Jammu and Kashmir, articles 370 and 35A are brought back, all political leaders should be released and the internet and all such communication channels restored,” she said.

Those taking part at the protest programme carried placards with slogans such as “Restore democracy, rights and dignity of Kashmiri people” and “Withdraw UAPA-Sedition-PSA on Kashmiri political leaders and citizens”.

On August 5 last year, the government abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution that accorded a special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated it into Union territories.

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