6 political parties in Kashmir to fight for restoration of Art 370, Statehood

Fayaz Bukhari
Srinagar, Aug 22: A year after Centre scrapped special status of Jammu and Kashmir, six political parties today said that they will strive for the restoration of Articles 370 and 35A and Statehood for Jammu and Kashmir.
The National Conference (NC), the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the Congress, the J&K Peoples Conference (PC), the CPI(M) and the Awami National Conference (ANC) today issued a joint statement to carry forward the “Gupkar Declaration”, which was signed on August 4, 2019.
“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’,” said a joint statement of these parties.

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Last year, the Gupkar Declaration was signed in a meeting of the mainstream political leadership of Kashmir, during which they unanimously resolved that “all the parties would be united in their resolve to protect and defend identity, autonomy and special special status of the JK against all attacks and onslaughts whatsoever.” The meeting was convened at Srinagar MP Farooq Abdullah’s residence on Gupkar Road, which is how the name of the document came to be known.
The statement was jointly issued by Dr Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, G A Mir, M Y Tarigami, Sajad Gani Lone and Muzaffar Shah. However, Dr Shah Faisal who was part of the signatories of Gupkar Declaration was not present as he has quit the politics.
The statement said that the unfortunate events of August 5, 2019 have “unrecognisably 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 series of measures undertaken on August 5, 2019 were in reality measures of disempowerment and 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,” it said.
These parties reiterated that “our commitment to collectively fight to restore the special status of J&K as guaranteed under the Constitution and the commitments made from time to time”.
“There is unanimity amongst us that a collective institution is the effective way to fight for these rights and tirelessly struggle to get back the special status and restore the Constitutional guarantees forcibly taken away, against our will. 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 said.
These leaders also expressed gratitude to the people of India, the political parties, the intelligentsia and other civil society groups for opposing the “unconstitutional measures of August 5, 2019 and ever since standing with the people of J&K in this crisis”.
“We appeal for their unstinted support to our just cause till the unconstitutional measures of 5th August 2019 are undone and the special status of J&K restored,” they said in the statement.
They also exhorted on the leadership of the subcontinent to take due notice of the ever increasing skirmishes at the Line of Actual Control and Line of Control, resulting in casualties on both the sides and unabated violent incidents in J&K and work for enduring peace in the region.

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