‘Struggle For Art370 Will Continue’: Mufti Seeks J&K Package & Pakistan Talks At PM Meet

Issuing her first statement following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with mainstream Jammu & Kashmir political parties, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said that she expressed the feelings of the people of J&K at the 3.5-hour-long meet on Thursday. The former Chief Minister said that the people of Jammu & Kashmir are angry and upset after Article 370 was abrogated by the Centre in an ‘unconstitutional, illegal and immoral’ manner. Mufti reiterated that the government should hold discussions with Pakistan to restore train services between the two countries, which had been a source of employment for many. 

In a stern tone, while addressing media persons after the meeting, Mufti remarked that the people of J&K will struggle to restore Article 370 even if takes months or years, adding that the special provisions weren’t given by Pakistan, but by ‘J&K’s own country, Jawaharlal Nehru and Vallabbhai Patel’. Significantly, Mufti claimed that she demanded an economic package for the people of J&K who have sustained financial losses due to the abrogation of Article 370, and that all political prisoners should be released. 

“I told them you are talking to China where there is no involvement of citizens. People are involved in J&K. I complimented them on opening talks with Pakistan, the ceasefire and reduction in infiltration and if it brings peace to the people of J&K, then you should again talk to Pakistan. Trains to Pakistan should be resumed and talks for that should be held because that is a route for employment for many. There is hostile environment in J&K, people are unable to breathe,” Mehbooba Mufti told the media. 

“I told them that what happened in Jammu & Kashmir on August 5, 2019, the unconstitutional and immoral way in which Article 370 was abrogated is not acceptable to the people of Kashmir. The BJP has struggled for 70 years to remove Article 370. The people of Jammu & Kashmir will struggle against it democratically and peacefully,” she added.

Just hours after the meeting at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg, as Mehbooba Mufti addressed the media, her party’s spokesman Firdous Tak took a dig at Ghulam Nabi Azad’s briefing. Linking Ghulam Nabi Azad’s briefing to the views to that of the Prime Minister and Home Minister, the PDP leader said that his presser ‘speaks beyond words.’ The PDP leader’s remarks came after Azad highlighted Congress’ 5 demands placed before the Centre which included restoration of statehood and holding assembly elections. 

Priority to strengthen grassroots democracy in J&K: PM Modi

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a tweet after the meeting, said that the Centre is committed to ensuring all-round development of J&K. He asserted that Indian democracy’s biggest strength is the ability to sit across a table and exchange views.

“I told the leaders of J&K that it is the people, specially the youth who have to provide political leadership to J&K, and ensure their aspirations are duly fulfilled,” PM Modi tweeted. Similarly, Home Minister Amit Shah said that the future of Jammu and Kashmir was discussed and the delimitation exercise and peaceful elections are important milestones in restoring statehood as promised in the Parliament. 

PM Modi invites J&K mainstream leaders to 7LKM

Marking a first since the abrogation of Article 370, PM Modi invited top Kashmiri political parties – NC, PDP, Congress, Apni Party, CPM  to come to New Delhi for talks to bolster political activities in the Union Territory. The meeting held on June 24 at 3 PM, was chaired by PM Modi and attended by Lieutenant-Governor Manoj Sinha, Home Minister Amit Shah, Home Secretary, amongst others. 14 politicians namely – NC chief Farooq Abdullah, NC vice-prez Omar Abdullah, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, CPI(M) leader Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ghulam Ahmad Mir, Tara Chand, J&K Apni party Syed Altaf Bukhari,  JKPC chief Sajad Lone, Muzaffar Baig, Panthers Party leader Bhim Singh, BJP leaders Ravinder Raina, Kavinder Gupta, and Nirmal Singh were also invited. 

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