Bukhari Threatens Stir Over Statehood

 Altaf Bukhari | KO File Photo

Srinagar: Stating that Article 370 can be restored only by the parliament, J&K Apni Party chief Syed Altaf Bukhari Monday said that they will not hesitate to hit the streets, if New Delhi fails to restore the Statehood to J&K UT.

Addressing reporters on the occasion of the first foundation day anniversary of the party, J&K Apni party chief said that much was promised in 1947, but nothing was given back.

“We have to fight for the restoration of statehood to J&K. Our demand also is to hold Assembly elections as soon as possible,” Bukhari said, adding that “This is the pledge Apni Party is taking on the eve of first foundation of the party.”

J&K Apni Party was floated on March 08, 2020. He said the agenda framed by the Apni Party on the day of its birth was pursued in letter and spirit but certain things like prolonged shutdown in the wake of Article 370 revocation and slicing of erstwhile state of J&K into two UTs followed by Covid-19 outbreak, “we couldn’t pursue our manifesto the way it should have been.”

“Nevertheless, we did our best and didn’t sit in our homes. We didn’t either show hollow dreams to people of J&K and never promised something that is not achievable,” Bukhari said. He was flanked by party leaders Muhammad Ashraf Mir, SMC Mayor Junaid Matoo and others. Asked why he is not demanding restoration of special status, he said that he can’t make false promises as it was the Parliament of India that can restore special status to J&K.

“I would like to make it clear that August 5, 2019 was the darkest day in the history of J&K that nobody will forget. We will strive hard for restoration of Statehood to J&K and if Delhi delays it, we will not hesitate to hit the streets,” he said.

Bukhari highlighted the Apni Paty’s achievements in the past one year and stated that getting the job policy order where youth of J&K were entitled for only Class fourth jobs, reversed, was the party’s biggest achievement.

“There are other issues which we are pursuing like 15 years for becoming a domicile of J&K. We are also aware of the ploys as to how J&K Bank was weakened by stripping off its autonomy. This institution is our backbone and we will continue to fight for restoration of its autonomy,” he said.

Demanding early Assembly polls, Bukhari said that if the Apni Party is voted to power, it will take historic steps, especially making 25 years mandatory for becoming the domicile of the State.

“We ensured that land policy was amended and today, our 88 percent land is safe which is the outcome of our meeting with the Prime Minister Narendera Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah,” he said.

Bukhari lamented on the National Conference’s decision of staying away from Delimitation Exercise. “The biggest party could have participated in the process and put forth its point. They choose otherwise and I at times believe, boycotting something is aimed at facilitating the bigger plans. Perhaps, Delhi’s plan was to be made successful by staying away,” he said, taking a jibe at NC.

Bukhari urged the DC to finish its job as soon as possible stating that the exercise was so simple and not complicated as being projected. Bukhari also took a dig at the J&K administration for not being able to resolve the mutton crisis in Kashmir.

“How strange it is that even after four months of stalemate, the government is not able to resolve the mutton issue in the Valley. Mutton dealers should be taken into confidence and the crisis must end sooner the better,” he said.

Bukhari expressed serious concern over the frequent closure of Srinagar-Jammu highway stating that earlier the highway would remain closed for two days a month and open for 28 days, but today reverse is the case.

“Is this being done deliberately? Is this also a ploy to keep the Kashmir valley cut-off? This needs to be inquired into. Why Mughal Road is not open for the entire year. When Ladakh highway is being re-opened in February and kept open for the remaining year and Mughal Road is kept closed,” he said

About the property tax, Bukhari said that Kashmiris have been given away things in the past seven decades and as far the property tax is concerned, the Government should give “us all the facilities, before demanding property tax.” Bukhari also lashed out at the bureaucrats for disturbing assets between the two Union Territories (UTs) without taking the stakeholders on board. “What kind of mechanism is this that property is being distributed between brothers, but none of the two is aware,” Bukhari asked.

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