Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be meeting mainstream political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir today in what is the first such move by the Centre since the scrapping of Article 370 and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories in 2019. All the invitees to the meeting have confirmed their participation and have reached Delhi for the meeting today. The meeting will be held at 3 pm today. Ahead of the crucial meeting today, here’s a look at who said what before the meeting:
Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, a union of different political parties, wanted the government to restore pre-August status which includes statehood and Article 370. M Y Tarigami, the chief spokesman for the Gupkar Alliance, said that the leaders will seek something which is theirs. He said that the leaders will seek whatever is possible within the Indian constitution.
Congress party, which was first opposed to the scrapping of Article 370, said that they want restoration of full statehood for Jammu and Kashmir. Senior Congress leader and former Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the demand for full statehood will be at the top of the agenda for the Congress party. Rajya Sabha MP and Congress leader P Chidambaram also took to Twitter saying that Congress must push for Jammu and Kashmir’s full statehood.
Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference, formed by former separatists-turned-mainstream politician Sajjad Gani Lone, appreciated the initiative by the Prime Minister and hoped that the meeting evolves into something bigger facilitating the restoration of democracy in the Union Territory. The party’s spokesperson said that there was a need for a new social contract between the people of Jammu and Kashmir and New Delhi.
The Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party, which hit out at the Center for not inviting it to the meeting, said that they are hopeful of a solution from the meeting. “As a representative of J&K, it is our firm belief that our issues will be resolved by New Delhi, not by Islamabad, Washington, or London,” said J&K Apni Party’s Altaf Bukhari.
Bukhari said that the PM had started a process on March 14, 2020, when a delegation of the Apni Party met him and now he has called an all-party meeting. “PM should find a way to assuage the pain caused by the abrogation of Article 370. Statehood of J&K should be reinstated, the democratic institution should be restored & elections should be held,” said Bukhari.
Meanwhile, members of the Dogra Front today staged a protest against Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti in Jammu. “This protest is against Mufti’s statement which she gave after the Gupkar meeting that Pakistan is a stakeholder in the Kashmir issue. She should be put behind bars,” said a protester.
Notably, Mufti had been giving controversial statements since the abrogation of Article 370 and she even said that she won’t hoist tricolour unless they are allowed to raise the flag of Jammu and Kashmir.