NEW DELHI: Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday claimed that India was no more a democracy. Azad's remarks came while he was addressing an all party meet, called by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) at Jantar Mantar protesting against the house arrest of senior political leaders of Kashmir.
"Let me tell you, we are no more a democracy. If anyone thinks that he is living in a democracy that person is living in fool's paradise," Azad said.
Azad added that, "When I was the Minister of Information and Broadcasting I had no guts to call the editor of state-owned media platforms to drop a story. But now any random leader of the ruling party calls any media outlet, its editors or owners to drop the story and the outlet has to oblige. This is not a democracy."
Azad urged the Central government to restore all the Telecom services in Jammu and Kashmir and to release all the political prisoners and leaders including Omar Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.
"Landline is not even used by 0.001 per cent of the civilians in Jammu and Kashmir, only government officials use it. If you really claim that everything is peaceful in Kashmir, then open mobile services," Azad added.
Among those participating in the demonstration was the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party and the Indian Union Muslim League.
Congress leaders Karti Chidambaram and Ghulam Nabi Azad, RJD's Manoj Jha, CPI(M) leaders Sitaram Yechury and Brinda Karat, Samajwadi Party's Ram Gopal Yadav and senior leaders from the DMK among others were present at the meet.
On August 5, the government removed Jammu and Kashmir's special status and split the state into two Union Territories that will come into effect on October 31.
The region has been put under heavy security restrictions, which have been eased gradually since. Several political leaders -- including former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti -- are still in detention.