SRINAGAR – Eight former legislators led by Syed Altaf Bukhari on Tuesday became the first group of mainstream politicians to open the channels of communication with the office of Jammu and Kashmir’s Lieutenant Governor and making a slew of demands including restoration of statehood.
The delegation met G C Murmu in Jammu and submitted a memorandum demanding safeguarding rights of people over land and jobs, release of detainees and withdrawing cases against youth among others.
Bukhari was the state’s finance minister in the PDP-BJP coalition government.
The memorandum submitted by the mainstream leaders to the LG insists that the issue of statehood holds more emotional importance than legal for the residents of Jammu and Kashmir as they had not realised its essence until August 5, 2019.
“Statehood for the inhabitants of the erstwhile princely state is something they genuinely relate to as a reference to their glorious past, a place which has been a mosaic of various religions, cultures, languages and regions. So Statehood for these people is solidification of the idea of pluralism and respectful coexistence,” the memorandum reads.
“Since the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status embedded in Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and bifurcation of the State into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir with a legislature and Ladakh without one — the majority of its residents are yet to reconcile with this decision,” it adds.
Among other demands were restoration of J&K Bank’s functional dominion, reviving agriculture and horticulture sectors, support for Industry and manufacturing sector, tourism and allied industries and their revival.
They also demanded relief for general trade including shopkeepers, bus and taxi owners, addressing unemployment and restoration of internet services.
“Fact of the matter is that a majority of people in Jammu and Kashmir feel hurt and there are vocal concerns wherein they feel their decades-long privileges were unceremoniously curtailed,” the memorandum reads.
“To win over the confidence of the people, the Centre will have to re-examine its decades old policies vis-à-vis Kashmir. Depending solely on security measures and dealing with peoples’ political aspirations through the law and order prism will always have its old tested repercussions,” it further adds
The other members of the delegation were Ghulam Hassan Mir (president, Democratic Party Nationalist), Mohammad Dilawar Mir (former minister), Zaffar Iqbal (former PDP MLC), Javed Hassan Beig, Noor Mohammad Shiekh, Choudhary Qamar Hussain and Raja Manzoor Ahmad (all former PDP MLAs).
Most of the leaders were part of the PDP till the fall of the PDP-BJP government in 2018. Ghulam Hassan Mir was in PDP till 2008.
The move to meet the LG comes on the fourth death anniversary of PDP founder Mufti Mohammad Mohammad Sayeed.
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