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Published On: Sat, Oct 24th, 2020

J&K Coalition To Be Led By Farooq Abdullah

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Farooq-Abdullah-784x441 (2)SRINAGAR: Former Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah, who is also the senior-most mainstream politician in the Valley, would be heading the ‘People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration’.
The new alliance got a formal structure today with National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah becoming the head and People’s Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti as vice president.
This is for the first time the arch-rivals in Kashmir have joined hands to fight against centre’s decision announced on August 5 last year. “The symbol that was flying on the secretariat will be symbol of the alliance,” said Sajad Lone, spokesperson of the alliance and chief of the People’s Conference party.
The coalition of regional parties, also backed by the CPI and CPI(M), will strive for the restoration of Article 370 — the now-struck down law which provided special status to J&K. Farooq Abdullah, Under ED Scanner, Says Fight Is to Restore Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir ‘Even If I’m Hanged’.
It’s not an anti-national Jamat, our aim is to ensure that the rights of people of J&K and Ladakh are restored. Attempts of dividing us in the name of religion will fail. It’s not a religious fight,” said the 83-year-old Abdullah, who was detained for six months after abrogation of Article 370 and slapped with the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).
The People’s Alliance has emerged as an amalgamation of National Conference, PDP, Awami National Conference, People’s Conference and J&K units of CPI and CPI(M). The coalition will constitutionally fight for the restoration of political status quo in Jammu & Kashmir as of August 4, 2019.
While Abdullah was named as president of the People’s Alliance, Mehbooba Mufti, the head of PDP, was announced as the deputy chief. People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone will serve as the chief spokesperson, and Mohammed Tarigami of CPI(M) has been appointed as the convener.
Lone, who was once considered a tacit ally of the BJP in the Valley, apparently accused the Centre-ruling regime of tarnishing the image of J&K. He claimed that a propaganda has been unleashed across India to portray that the Valley was in dark ages before abrogation of Article 370. A white-paper would be prepared and released next month to “debunk the propaganda”, he claimed.
“A document will be prepared within a month via which we’ll present facts behind the lies that are being propagated. It’ll be a tribute to people of J&K who are being slandered,” Lone said.

Abdullah alleged that the BJP has tried to break the federal structure by removing the maximum provisions of Article 370 and dividing Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories.

He said, “They tried to destroy the Constitution of India, they tried to divide the country and break the federal structure which we saw on August 5 last year, what they did.”

The former chief minister said, “I want to tell them that this (People’s Alliance for Guptkar Declaration-PAGD) is not an anti-national group. Our aim is that the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh should get their rights back. This is our struggle. Our struggle is nothing more than that. ”
Farooq  said that BJP is campaigning against the constituents of PAGD in Jammu and across the country. He said, “They are trying to divide us (people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh) in the name of religion.” This attempt will not be successful. This is not a religious fight but it is a fight for our identity and we stand together for that identity. ”
Article 370, which guaranteed semi-autonomous status to J&K, was repealed via an executive order issued by the Centre on August 5 last year. On the same day, most political leaders in the Valley including Abdullah, Mufti, Lone and others were detained. While most of them were released earlier this year, Mufti was the last to be freed in October — nearly 14 months after being taken into custody.

A day before the law was abrogated, a meeting of most mainstream parties in J&K was convened at Abdullah’s residence at Gupkar Road in Srinagar.  A unanimous resolution was adopted, which came to be known as Gupkar Declaration, to prevent any amendment to Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The formation of People’s Alliance, after 14 months, is in continuation of the adoption of same declaration.
A year after Jammu and Kashmir’s state flag and constitution were scrapped, the landmark new political bloc called the People’s Alliance has adopted the erstwhile flag as its symbol to fight for the restoration of the former state’s special status.
“I want to tell you that it is false propaganda by the BJP that the PAGD (People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration) is anti-national. I want to tell them that this is not true. There is no doubt that it is anti-BJP but it is not anti-national,” Mr Abdullah told reporterafter the meeting. Adopting the erstwhile state flag as the banner of the alliance is seen as a strong symbolic gesture to convey the political intent.
On Saturday, PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti announced that she will not raise the national flag till Jammu and Kashmir’s own flag is back. The statement stirred a major controversy. The BJP demanded that Mehbooba Mufti should be charged with sedition.

Ms Mufti said that her fight will not be restricted to restoration of Article 370 of alone. She will fight for the resolution of the Kashmir issue even if she has to sacrifice her life. Sajad Lone said the alliance will come out with a whitepaper within a month on the governance in Jammu and Kashmir over the past one year since the abrogation of Article 370 and “expose the lies and propaganda” of the BJP and the way Kashmiris have been slandered.
Responding to the comments in New Delhi, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said there was no chance the coalition will get what they want. “Article 370 won”t be restored, revoking it was our commitment to nation and people have appreciated it,” he said.(With Agency Inputs).





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