Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday welcomed the decision of political parties in Jammu and Kashmir to unitedly fight for the restoration of the region’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution. Chidambaram added that his party stood for the reinstatement of the rights of the Kashmiri people.
“The coming together of mainstream regional parties of J&K to fight a constitutional battle to restore the rights of the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh is a development that must be welcomed by all the people of India,” Chidambaram tweeted. “The Congress also resolutely stands for restoration of the status and rights of the people of J&K. The arbitrary and unconstitutional decisions of the Modi government of August 5, 2019 must be rescinded.”
Chidambaram added that the Centre must change its view of the political parties in Kashmir. “The central government must stop looking at the mainstream parties and the people of J&K as secessionist or anti-national.”
National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah had 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. He had added that the alliance will strive for the restoration of the “Constitution (with regard to Jammu and Kashmir) as it existed on August 5, 2019.”
The announcement of the alliance came a day after Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah met Mufti at her residence in Srinagar, a day after she was released from a 14-month-long detention under the Public Safety Act.
The alliance also includes the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement and the Awami National Conference.
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.
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‘Governments at Centre come and go, we are here to stay’: Sajad Lone
Peoples Conference President Sajad Lone, who was released from detention in July, said that Kashmiri political parties “were here to stay” while the governments at the Centre kept changing, NDTV reported.
“We are here to stay, as inhabitants of the state,” he told the news channel. “We are not tourists. National governments come and go. We should resist any national government decisions for which our children will have to face consequences. It is our moral duty to stand up against it.”
Lone added: “This [the Gupkar alliance] is a collective mechanism and primarily what was ours has been taken away from us. We will struggle peacefully, within the ambit of the constitution as is the right in every part of the country.”
Lone said that the Centre’s decision to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was “short-sighted borne out of hatred”. “The national government is a “maai baap” [parents] for everyone,” he told the news channel. “Maai baap does not lock you in, jail you. The onus today is on them to show that they treat us at par with the rest of the country.”
‘Alliance guided by anti-India forces,’ claims BJP
The Bharatiya Janata Party, meanwhile, claimed that the alliance was formed on the directions of Pakistan and China and guided by “anti-India” forces, PTI reports.
Jammu and Kashmir BJP President Ravinder Raina called the alliance “an agenda of anti-national forces that want to destabilize the situation in the Kashmir valley”.
Raina added: “We will never ever allow the agenda of the Gupkar alliance to be implemented in J&K and allow it to succeed.” He also warned alliance partners that they will face serious consequences for any “misadventure”.