National Conference President Farooq Abdullah was on Saturday unanimously chosen as the chairperson of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration in Jammu and Kashmir, PTI reported. Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti will be his deputy.
Besides this, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami will be the convenor of the alliance, and People’s Conference Chairperson Sajjad Lone the spokesperson.
The leaders of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration met at the residence of Mufti on Saturday. They adopted the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state flag as their symbol. On Friday, Mufti had said that she would not raise the Indian tricolour until the state flag was also raised, a reference to the demand for a return of the erstwhile state to its special Constitutional status under Article 370.
Lone told reporters at the meeting that the alliance will come out within a month with a white paper on governance in the Union Territory since the abrogation of its special status on August 5 last year. “The white paper will not be rhetoric,” Lone said. “It will be based on facts and figures to present the reality to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and around the country... An impression is being given that all the corruption had happened in Jammu and Kashmir only.”
The alliance decided to hold its next meeting after a fortnight in Jammu, followed by a convention in Srinagar on November 17.
“We are anti-BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party], we are not anti-national,” Farooq Abdullah said after the meeting, the Hindustan Times reported. “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 to dividing us in the name of religion will fail. It’s not a religious fight.”
Abdullah said the alliance will struggle for the restoration of special status of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. “Ours is a constitutional battle, we want the government of India to return to the people of the state the rights they held before August 5, 2019,” he said.
The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration was announced on October 15 following a meeting at Abdullah’s residence in Srinagar. 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.
Mufti, who had been in detention under the Public Safety Act for 14 months, was released on October 14. 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.
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. Sajjad Lone was released in July.