KASHMIR … Abdullah and Mehbooba join hands to revive Gupkar declaration; demand restoration of Special Status for J&K


SRINAGAR: National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah has re-grouped a set of regional parties in Kashmir and national-level entities like the Congress and the CPIM to make common cause for restoration of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which had granted special status for Jammu and Kashmir. 

The special status had been abolished by the BJP-led NDA government on August 5 last year, after which it kept several leaders like Abdullah under house arrest for varying periods.

Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah rushed to the residence of former chief minister and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti Wednesday immediately after she was released from preventive detention by the Modi government, and enlisted support for the cause. 

The leaders of the seven-party alliance met at Abdullah’s residence Thursday and revived the demand – which they had jointly pressed earlier too —  that was shortly after the nullification of the special status provision by the Modi government. At that time, it was publicized as People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration.

The residence of Abdullah is situated on Gupkar Road, and hence the name for the declaration. The Modi government had dismissed the ‘declaration’ with the contempt it deserved.

Mehbooba Mufti was released earlier this week after 14 months of detention. Mehbooba as also Farooq and his son are former chief ministers of the state. Mehbooba hails from the family of senior politician the late Mufti Mohd Saeed, while Farooq’s father, Sheikh Abdullah, was the first chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and a close personal associate of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. 

The two dynasties shared the spoils of power in Jammu and Kashmir, in iterations, over the past many decades after Independence.

While the Congress and its sidekick in politics, the CPIM, had strongly opposed the abrogation of Article 370, public opinion across India was strongly in favour of the Modi Government’s bold step implemented with careful planning by Home Minister Amit Shah. Any attempt to disturb the present peace in Kashmir is likely to be viewed seriously by the central government.

Farooq Abdullah has possibly played into the hands of the Modi government when he made a statement a few days ago saying the Special Status for Kashmir will be restored with Chinese help. China meanwhile stated that it did not recognize the grant of Union Territory status for Ladakh, which had been bifurcated from the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state when the Modi government, in August last, made Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh separate Union Territories and ended the state status for the troubled province.

The present Chinese aggressiveness against India is seen as part of a joint strategy by the Chinese and Pakistani establishments to needle India and possibly take the confrontation eventually to a two-front war == China on one side and Pakistan on the other, set against India. 

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh declared earlier this week that India was prepared for any eventuality, and would not budge to pressure from China. He was inaugurating over 40 bridges hastily set up by India in various border regions including Ladakh in case a confrontation is near at hand. China was caught unawares about the Indian activity along the borders, and took objection to this too. 

India replied that whatever happened on the Indian side should not warrant China to poke its nose into.  

BJP in Srinagar organised a demonstration outside Abdullah’s residence and protested against what it called the “gang-up” to disturb the peace in the Valley and beyond. IHN-NN

INDIA HERE AND NOW www.indiahereandnow.com email:indianow999@gmail.com

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