The Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party said on Thursday that an “illegal and unconstitutional” disempowerment was perpetrated on the people of the erstwhile state by the abrogation of special status under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, last year on August 5, PTI reported. The party said the changes were unacceptable.
The party made the pronouncement after a meeting of senior leaders chaired by PDP President Mehbooba Mufti. This was the first such meeting of party leaders in over 14 months, during which Mufti had been placed in detention under the Public Safety Act.
A party spokesperson said the meeting was called to discuss the situation prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir following the revocation of its special status. “The leadership unanimously endorsed the stance taken by the party president on the issue of August 5 events as well as her commitment to a united response to these events,” the spokesperson said.
The Narendra Modi-led government had done away with the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir and converted it from a state into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. The changes to the form of the region came into force on October 31 last year.
On October 15 this year, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference President Farooq Abdullah, who had also been placed in detention till March, announced an alliance with 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.
“We have named this alliance as the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration,” Abdullah said following the meeting. “We shall struggle for restoration of what was snatched from Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh,” Abdullah told reporters. “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.
Farooq Abdullah and his son and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had met Mufti at her residence in Srinagar on October 14.
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.
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.