Gupkar Alliance Seeks Statehood for J&K Before Polls

KO File Photo By Abid Bhat

‘Disappointed At Outcome Of All-Party Meet’

Srinagar: The PAGD on Monday expressed disappointment over the outcome of the June 24 meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, citing the absence of any confidence building measures and concrete steps to end the "siege and atmosphere of suppression" that have "choked" the people of Jammu and Kashmir since August 2019.

The People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) also reminded the BJP-led central government to honour its commitment made in Parliament to restore the statehood to Jammu and Kashmir and said assembly elections must only be held once this is done.

The PAGD is an alliance of six mainstream parties -- National Conference, Peoples'' Democratic Party, CPM, CPI, Awami National Conference and Jammu and Kashmir People's Movement -- that was cobbled after the Centre abrogated the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019 and divided it into two union territories (UTs).

"To this end (restoration of statehood to J-K), the People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration has decided to reach out to other political parties in Jammu and Kashmir with a view to take a common position on the issue," PAGD spokesperson and CPM leader M Y Tarigami said in a statement.

The PAGD issued the statement after holding an emergency meeting late on Sunday night at the residence of its chairperson and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah.

The PAGD meeting, which was called to discuss the all-party meeting with PM Modi held in Delhi, came a day before the visit of the Delimitation Commission to the Kashmir valley. The commission headed by retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Desai along with Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra and J-K''s chief electoral officer will hold meetings with representatives of political parties in Kashmir and Jammu starting Tuesday.

"All the members of the PAGD expressed their disappointment at the outcome of the Delhi meeting especially at the absence of any substantial Confidence Building Measures such as releasing political and other prisoners from jails and taking concrete steps to end the siege and atmosphere of suppression that has choked JK since 2019," the PAGD statement said.

It said the confidence building measures would have initiated the much-needed process of reaching out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who are the biggest stakeholders and sufferers.

On the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status by the Centre and its subsequent bifurcation into two UTs, the PAGD reiterated its commitment to fight together to reverse the unconstitutional and unacceptable changes "foisted" on the people of the erstwhile state "using all constitutional, legal and political means at its disposal".

"The PAGD''s struggle for undoing these changes will continue as long as it takes while striving to achieve this objective as early as possible," it said.

As far as the restoration of statehood is concerned, the PAGD said, it has been the BJP's commitment on the floor of Parliament and it must honour its word.

"So, any assembly election must be held only after the restoration of full statehood for JK," it added.

The PAGD''s meeting was attended by its vice chairperson and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, Tarigami, NC leader Hasnain Masoodi, People's Movement chief Javed Mustafa Mir and Awami National Conference senior vice president Muzaffar Ahmed Shah.

The June 24 meeting that was chaired by PM Modi was the first outreach by the Centre to the leaders of Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of the erstwhile state's special status. Fourteen leaders from eight different political parties including four chief ministers -- Abdullah, his son Omar, Mehbooba and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad -- had participated in the meeting.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla were also present at the meeting

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