Kashmir leaders resolve to fight for restoration of Article 370 and J-K statehood

Political parties are opposing the abrogation of Article 370 that gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Top Kashmiri leaders, who signed the Gupkar declaration last year, have decided to strive for the restoration of Article 370 and 35A, the constitution of J&K and its statehood.

National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, Congress state president Ghulam Ahmad Mir, CPI (M) general secretary M Y Tarigami, Peoples Conference chairman, Sajad Gani Lone and vice president Awami National Conference Muzuffar Shah have stated so in a joint statement issued on Saturday.

The first such joint statement signed by mainstream parties after the revocation of Article 370 also hints at launching a joint struggle for restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood.

“We all reiterate that we are bound, wholly, by the contents of the Gupkar declaration and will unwaveringly adhere to it. We are committed to strive for the restoration of Articles 370 and 35A, the Constitution of J&K and the restoration of the State and any division of the State is unacceptable to us. We unanimously reiterate that there can be ‘nothing about us without us’”, the joint statement said.

Panchayat polls have been held in Jammu and Kashmir after it was reorganised as a Union Territory and the Centre has stated that it will soon have a government elected by people once assembly elections are held after the ongoing delimitation exercise. However, the joint statement was silent on this.

The statement said the signatories to the Gupkar declaration of 4th August 2019 have barely managed to establish a basic level of communication with each other in the face of a series of “prohibitive and punitive” curbs imposed by the government, aimed at “impeding” all social and political interactions.

“The limited confabulations held within the constraints imposed have resulted in this unanimous resolution that the unfortunate events of 5th August 2019 have unrecognizably changed the relationship between J&K and New Delhi. In a spitefully shortsighted and unconstitutional move, Articles 370 and 35A were abrogated and the State was bifurcated and relegated to the status of two Union Territories and its Constitution tried to be made unenforceable.”

The Centre has maintained that the provisions removed by it on August 5 were temporary and were partly responsible for breeding terrorism in the region and preventing its growth.

The statement signed by the parties, however, states that the Centre’s move to abrogate Article 370 and bifurcate the erstwhile state into two union territories was a challenge to the basic identity of the people of J&K.

“The measures attempt to redefine who we are. These changes were accompanied by repressive measures meant to silence people and coerce them into submission, and continue unabated,” the statement said.

The statement also stresses on a collective political fight for the demands raised therein.

“We want to assure the people that all our political activities will be subservient to the sacred goal of reverting to the status of J&K as it existed on 4th August 2019,” the statement further said.

The statement also expresses gratitude to people, political parties, the intelligentsia and other civil society groups for opposing the changes made on 5th August 2019 and standing with the people of J&K. Several petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court against the change effected in the status of Jammu and Kashmir.

The leaders also called attention to the recent skirmishes at the LAC (Line of Actual Control) and the LOC (Line of Control) that have resulted in casualties on both sides and said there was a need to work for enduring peace in the region.

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti could not attend the meeting since she continues to be in detention. However, her daughter tweeted to express her support for the principle of a ‘joint struggle’ as expressed in the statement.

“Ms Mufti appreciates the statesmanship shown by Dr Farooq sahab in forging a collective response to Delhi’s onslaught on J&Ks special status. It’s time we forego political differences & stand together,” tweeted Iltija Mufti.

Source: Hindustan Times


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