All options are open, says Farooq Abdullah amidst rumours of another bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir

Published : June 10, 2021 11:19 IST

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti (extreme left), CPI(M) leader Yousuf Tarigami (second from left) and N.C. chief Farooq Abdullah (third from left) after the PAGD meeting in Srinagar on June 9. Photo: NISSAR AHMAD

Amidst rumours of yet another political and administrative overhaul of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the leaders of the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) met in Srinagar on June 9 to deliberate on the matter.

The alliance leaders said that they were keeping all options open in the struggle for the restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. “We have not closed any options. We will discuss it as and when they [the Central government] invite us,” said Farooq Abdullah, chairperson of PAGD.

When asked to comment on social media rumours of yet another bifurcation of the erstwhile State, Farooq Abdullah said that the PAGD leaders were as much in the dark as were the people.

Rumours are rife in Kashmir over the past week that the U.T. of Jammu and Kashmir may be divided further to allow Statehood to the Jammu region whereas Kashmir will be controlled directly by New Delhi. There are also rumours that parts of South Kashmir may be incorporated in the new State of Jammu with the express purpose of ending the political significance of a Muslim majority Kashmir region.

The rumours circulated after increased troops movement across Jammu and Kashmir and Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha’s hasty visit to New Delhi. It was also rumoured that People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone, seen as close to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), also hastened to New Delhi for a purported meeting with the leadership of the incumbent Central government. Sajad Lone denied he went to New Delhi.

The veracity of such rumours is next to impossible to determine, but the latest PAGD meeting is a clear indication of the scale of apprehensions and unease it has caused in Kashmir.

The meeting, which took place at former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s residence, was the first one since December 2020, when the PAGD leaders met to discuss the outcome of the District Development Council (DDC) elections.

During the meeting, CPI(M) leader Yousuf Tarigami was named the spokesperson of the alliance, a post hitherto held by Sajad Lone who quit the PAGD in January 2021.