National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah on Thursday announced an alliance with Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti, People’s Conference and other regional groups following a meeting of six Jammu and Kashmir-based parties to discuss the Gupkar Declaration at his residence in Srinagar, NDTV reported.
“We have named this alliance as the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration,” Abdullah said following the meeting, ANI reported. “We shall struggle for restoration of what was snatched from Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh,” Abdullah told reporters according to PTI. “Ours is a constitutional battle...we would strive for restoration of the constitution (with regard to Jammu and Kashmir) as it existed on August 5, 2019.”
The other parties include the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement and the Awami National Conference.
The meeting was attended by Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah, Mufti, People’s Conference Chairperson Sajad Lone, People’s Movement leader Javaid Mir and CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami. Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir could not attend the meeting due to “medical reasons”. A spokesperson for the Congress said Mir had informed Farooq Abdullah about his inability to attend due to doctors’ advice to get himself medically examined during a coronavirus screening.
Abdullah said the alliance also seeks talks with other stakeholders for resolution of the Kashmir matter. He said the alliance will keep the media informed about the future course of action “in due course”.
On Wednesday, Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah had met Mufti at her residence in Srinagar, a day after she was released from a 14-month-long detention under the Public Safety Act.
Under the Gupkar Declaration, regional parties and the Congress resolved to protect Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status and fight against any move to dilute it. On August 22, the six parties reaffirmed their commitment to the declaration and vowed to fight unitedly against the Centre’s decision to alter the region’s status under Article 370 of the Constitution.
After her release, Mufti had said that the leaders and people of Kashmir will never forget the humiliation caused by the Centre’s decision to abolish the erstwhile state’s special status under Article 370. She added that Kashmiris have to get back what the government snatched from them. “We have to get back what Delhi snatched from us in an undemocratic and illegal way,” Mufti said.
Almost all of the Kashmir Valley’s political leadership, including two other former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah – were detained last year. Omar Abdullah was released seven months later on March 24 as the Jammu and Kashmir administration revoked his detention order under the Public Safety Act. Farooq Abdullah was released on March 13. People’s Conference chief Sajjad Lone was released in July.