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Published On: Thu, Jun 24th, 2021

J&K: Statehood would be restored “at an appropriate time” PM Modi

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jk-2NEW DELHI : Union Home Minister on Thursday said the delimitation exercise and holding of peaceful elections in Jammu and Kashmir are important milestones in restoring statehood as promised in Parliament. The home minister’s comments came after a three-and-half-hour-long meeting held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with 14 political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir, including four former chief ministers.
“Our priority is to strengthen grassroots democracy in J&K. Delimitation has to happen at a quick pace so that polls can happen and J&K gets an elected Government that gives strength to J&K’s development trajectory,” he tweeted. PM meeting with political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir, spoke about removing “Dilli ki Doori as well as Dil Ki Doori” and assured his commitment to restoring full statehood when the time wasright.
Tweeting after the meeting, PM Narendra Modi said it was “an important step in the ongoing efforts towards a developed and progressive J&K, where all-round growth is furthered.”
PM Modi, say sources, said statehood would be restored “at an appropriate time” but urged the parties to get on board with delimitation or the redrawing of assembly constituencies to enable elections. Elections can happen soon after delimitation, it was said, and “most participants expressed willingness for it”, said sources. “The main focus of the meeting was to strengthen the democratic process. PM said that we are fully committed to the democratic process in J&K. He stressed that the holding assembly elections just like the successful conduct of District Development Council elections is a priority,” government sources said.
“We are committed to ensure all round development of J&K. The future of Jammu and Kashmir was discussed and the delimitation exercise and peaceful elections are important milestones in restoring statehood as promised in Parliament,” Shah said in a tweet. This is the first interaction between the central leadership and mainstream parties since August 5, 2019, when the Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 and bifurcated it into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
The four former chief ministers of the erstwhile state who participated in the discussions were Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah of the National Conference, Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti. Four former deputy chief ministers were in attendance too – Congress’ Tara Chand, People’s Conference leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig and BJP’s Nirmal Singh and Kavinder Gupta. CPI-M leader Mohammed Yusuf Tarigami, Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) chief Altaf Bukhari, Sajjad Lone of the People’s Conference, J-K Congress head G A Mir, BJP’s Ravinder Raina and Panthers Party leader Bhim Singh also formed part of the delegation.
Former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah of the National Conference met with PM Modi last on August 1, 2019. They were stunned when three days later on August 4, they were detained and hours later, the abrogation of Article 370 was announced in parliament.The seven-party Gupkar alliance led by Farooq Abdullah and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, accorded front row status with the PM in photos of the meet, pressed for restoration of full statehood and special status. “We will struggle for 370, be it months or years. We didn’t get this (special status) from Pakistan, but from India, Nehru. There can be no compromise on this,” Ms Mufti said after the meeting.
Omar Abdullah, however, told reporters that “almost all leaders” were unhappy with delimitation only in Jammu and Kashmir. “In other states, delimitation will be taken up in 2026, why has Jammu and Kashmir been singled out? We told the PM delimitation is not needed,” said the former Chief Minister, adding that “trust has broken between the Centre and Kashmir”.Will fight against Article 370 decision in court: Omar Abdullah National Conference leader and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said he and his party are not ready to accept what happened on August 5, 2019 (abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of J&K). “However, we will not break law. We will fight it out in court,” he said. About the meeting, he said, “We tried to explain to the prime minister that confidence between J&K and the Centre has been shaken and steps need to be taken to restore the confidence.”
Meanwhile, the Congress party raised five demands during the all-party meeting on Jammu and Kashmir. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, senior Congress leader and former J&K Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said the party has raised five demands to the government. These were: 1) Statehood for Jammu and Kashmir should be restored at the earliest.
“The prime minister and the home minister had promised in Parliament to restore J&K’s statehood at the appropriate time. We told the government that now is the favourable situation for it,” Azad said. 2) The Congress also demanded the government to hold assembly elections in J&K at the earliest. 3) Azad said the Congress party also demanded that efforts must be made to ensure return of Kashmiri Pandits and their rehabilitation.
“This is our moral responsibility,” Azad said. 4) The fourth demand that the Congress raised was that the government should release all social and political prisoners who were arrested/detained on or around August 5, 2019 when Article 370 was abrogated. 5) Besides this, the Congress demanded the government to provide guarantee protection of domiciles on land rights and jobs in J&K.
(With Agency Inputs).


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