Gupkar Alliance demands restoration of statehood before J-K assembly polls

Gupkar Alliance demands restoration of statehood before J-K assembly polls

SRINAGAR: Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir must be held only after the restoration of full statehood, said the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) on Monday.

In an official statement after the first meeting of the PAGD on Sunday, the alliance spokesperson MY Tarigami said that restoration of statehood has been “BJP’s commitment on the floor of the Parliament and they must honour their word.”

“So any assembly election must be held only after the restoration of full statehood for Jammu and Kashmir. To this end, the PAGD has decided to reach out to other political parties in Jammu and Kashmir with a view to take a common position on the issue,” said Tarigami.

He informed that at the alliance’s Sunday meeting, all the members of the PAGD had “expressed their disappointment at the outcome of the all-party meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi, especially at the absence of any substantial confidence-building measures such as releasing political and other prisoners from jails and taking concrete steps to end the siege and atmosphere of suppression that has choked Jammu and Kashmir since 2019.”

“This would have initiated the much-needed process of reaching out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir who are the biggest stakeholders and sufferers of the Jammu and Kashmir problem,” he added.

The PAGD met on Sunday evening under the chairmanship of Dr Farooq Abdullah at his residence in Srinagar.

The meeting was attended by vice-chairperson Mehbooba Mufti, MY Tarigami, Justice(retd) Hasnain Masoodi, Javed Mustafa Mir and Muzaffar Ahmed Shah.

Tarigami said that PAGD in the meeting “reiterated its commitment to fight together to reverse the unconstitutional and unacceptable changes foisted on the people of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019, using all constitutional, legal and political means at its disposal.”

“PAGD’s struggle for undoing these changes will continue as long as it takes while striving to achieve this objective as early as possible,” he added.

The meeting on June 24 was the first high-level interaction between the Centre and political leadership mainly from Kashmir since August 5, 2019, when the Centre abrogated Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and also bifurcated the erstwhile state into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019 was notified by the government on August 9, 2019, paved the way for the creation of two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir, which will have a legislature and Ladakh, without it.

The Act provides that the number of seats in the legislative assembly of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir shall be increased from 107 to 114, and delimitation of the constituencies will be determined by the Election Commission. (ANI)