A group of over 267 'Concerned Citizens of India'including veterans from the Indian Armed Forces, retired civil servants, retired judges and senior police officials have strongly criticised the Gupkar Alliance, formed by elite families and their cronies based in Jammu and Kashmir.
"Our Group is quite disturbed at the manner in which certain vested interests have been continuously trying to misuse the freedom of expression, talk ill about our country and its Constitution, and try to promote separatism," the group said in a statement.
Referring to Mufti's statement that she was not interested in contesting elections or holding the national flag, the statement said, "Ms. Mehbooba Mufti, the former Chief Minister of J&K, has crossed all the limits of nationalistic and legal propriety and certainly made herself liable to prosecution by contemptuously declaring that she will not hoist national flag of India in Kashmir till the flag of Kashmir is hoisted.”
The group of retired veterans and other civil servants called it a "direct insult to the honour and dignity of the national flag".
"Through her provocative utterances, she has further incited the people of Kashmir to cause disaffection leading to disturbance of public order," the statement added.
They have perhaps conveniently forgotten that abolition of the special status under the aegis of Article 370 of the Constitution of India was one of the foremost promises that the present government at the Centre had made to the people of India.
It further said the Government at the centre, elected with an unprecedented majority, enjoys a stamp of approval accorded by the Indian electorate, and therefore, it should not have come to anyone as a surprise when the process of real unification of India was completed. Even the international community, barring a few proclaimed hostile countries, held the new arrangement as an internal affair of a sovereign country. A self-seeking class of rulers in Srinagar, which had emerged by capitalising on the unjustified privileges, had to fall in the face of a mighty nationalistic undercurrent in a nation-building structural reform.
The exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits within an Indian democracy where the Constitution provides right to life and liberty to its citizens was a blot on the nation's conscience. Most of the signatories to the so-called Gupkar alliance had been the cause as well as the silent spectators to the exodus of lakhs of Kashmiri Pandits from their homes. They have been the cause of and also the silent spectators of large scale massacre of minority communities of Hindus and Sikhs.
Thousands of residents were denied the domiciliary rights, and therefore, were reduced to secondary citizenship, humiliation and denial of access to their legitimate rights. The privileged Gupkar elite and their cronies had divided Kashmir into a land of a few 'Haves' over a very large segment of 'Have-nots' due to deep-rooted corruption in governance, non-implementation of development schemes and policies of the Central Government, and siphoning off precious resources of the State. In fact, such type of unwarranted controversy created by vested interest obstructs the economic growth of Kashmir, the statement said.
The group also criticised former CM Farooq Abdullah, stating that his statement - that Article 370 will be restored with the help of China - has rendered him and Mufti to be "squarely liable to be detained under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978".
Further, the group calls for their prosecution under Section 124 A of the IPC for sedition. "The Gupkar Gang is a blemished relic of Indian democracy. It is not surprising that political leaders from Pakistan have of late issued statements in its support. This shows them in their true unpatriotic colours," the statement added.