The signatories of ‘Gupkar Declaration’ from among Jammu and Kashmir’s mainstream parties held a meeting here on Thursday and named the initiative aimed at fighting for the restoration of the erstwhile state’s special status as ‘People’s Alliance’.
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president and former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, who was released from a 14-month-long detention earlier this week, also attended the meeting.
The biggest favour done by security planners to the political leaders of Kashmir was detaining most of them under a single roof.
During the detention, the leaders cutting across political lines developed personal bonds which eventually lead to their unity. More so, the antagonistic behaviour of certain bureaucrats and police officers towards the detained leaders led to a greater bonhomie.
‘Gupkar Declaration’ was a pledge for defending Article 370 and 35A of Kashmir’s mainstream parties which they took at a meeting held at Abdullah’s residence on August 4, 2019, a day before the state was stripped of its special status and split up into two Union Territories (UTs).
Former chief minister and National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah, at whose house along Srinagar’s Gupkar Road the meeting, the third of the ‘Gupkar Declaration’ signatories, was held said, “Ours is a constitutional battle. We want the Government of India to return to the people the rights they held prior to August 5, 2019.”
Last month, the leaders of NC, PDP, Peoples Conference (PC), Awami National Conference (ANC), CPIM and Congress had after the second meeting of the signatories issued a joint statement here saying that they are “wholly bound” by the “Gupkar Declaration” and “will unwaveringly adhere to it.”
On Thursday, all the signatories barring J-K PCC chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir attended the meeting and renamed the grouping as “Peoples’ Alliance for Gupkar Declaration”.
“Our motive is to fight for the restoration of the pre-August 4, 2019 position. We will also fight for the rights that were snatched last year from J-K. Further, we want that the steps be taken for the resolution of Kashmir issue and all the stakeholders should be taken on board in this regard.” Abdullah told reporters
He also said that the next meeting of the signatories will be held soon, when the future course of action will be devised and made public thereafter.
The others who attended the meeting are PC chairman and former minister Sajad Gani Lone, CPIM’s Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, J-K People’s Peoples’ Movement leader Javed Mustafa Mir, ANC’s Muzaffar Shah besides NC vice president Omar Abdullah and party MP from Anantnag Hasnain Masoodi.
Hakeem Muhammad Yaseen, chairman of People’s Democratic Front (PDF), said that he supported the ‘Gupkar Declaration’ in letter and spirit but he could not attend Thursday’s meeting on health grounds.
Mir told a local news agency that he could not attend the meeting due to a medical emergency and had already conveyed it to Senior Abdullah.
Ruling establishment BJP noticed the development as a disturbance to their policy and Local unit BJP chief Ravinder Raina condemned the joint statement of Kashmir centric parties on Article 370.
Ravinder Raina said that Article 370 gave birth to terrorism and separatism in J&K and there is no question of restoration of Article 370.
However even after 15 months post abrogation of article 370 still the sound of guns are heard and both militants and Securtiy forces suffered