Major political parties in Kashmir unite to fight for return of autonomy

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(Major political parties in Kashmir on Thursday united to fight for the return of autonomy of the state. National Conference President Faroq Abdullah with his son former chief minister Omar Abdullah, PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and other leaders during a joint press conference on October 15, 2020 in Srinagar, India. (Courtesy: Photo REUTERS/Danish Ismail)

Major political parties in Kashmir on Thursday united to fight for the return of autonomy of the state. They have announced a grand alliance to seek a peaceful restoration of its autonomy.

Political parties in Jammu and Kashmir have formed an alliance to restore the special status that existed in the state before the abolition of Article 370 of the Constitution, National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah said on Thursday during a media briefing. On the issue, the alliance will also hold talks with stakeholders.

The formation of all-party alliance took place at a meeting held at the National Conference chief’s residence to discuss ‘Gupkar Declaration’. Last year on August 5, the Centre scrapped the Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

The National Conference president said “We have named this alliance as People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration. Our battle is a constitutional battle. We want the government to return to the people of the State the rights they held before 5th August 2019.”

Gupkar Declaration

‘Gupkar Declaration’ is a joint effort of all the regional mainstream political parties of Jammu and Kashmir – the National Conference, the Peoples Democratic Party, the Peoples Conference, the Awami National Conference and the CPI (M) – to fight for the state’s special status.

Mufti, Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Lone, CPIM leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami and Peoples Movement leader Javaid Mir attended the meeting. Omar Abdullah, vice president of National Conference and other senior leaders of the party were also present at the meeting.

Farooq Abdullah said the alliance also seeks a dialogue between all stakeholders for resolution of the issue. “We will be informing you about the future course of action in due course,” he added.

‘Illegal and unjustified detention’

On Wednesday, NC leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah had visited PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti at her residence. Mufti, who had been under arrest since August 5 last year, was released from her detention recently.

The NC president, at today’s meeting, called Mufti’s 14 months of detention “completely illegal and unjustified”.

The Modi government revoked the special status last year, cracked down on opposition and rounded up hundreds of people to forestall protests.

After revoking Kashmir’s autonomy, the government imposed a communication blackout with mobiles phones, internet links and landlines cut.

Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah, both former chief ministers, were released by authorities earlier this year.

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