Farooq Abdullah seals a “People’s Alliance” in Kashmir to fight for the restoration of Article 370

Published : October 16, 2020 17:24 IST

Leaders of the People’s Alliance (from left) Muzaffar Shah (ANC), Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, CPI(M), Mehbooba Mufti (PDP), Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah (N.C.), address the media after their meeting in Srinagar on October 15. Photo: DANISH ISMAIL/REUTERS

Six major political parties in Jammu and Kashmir have come together under the aegis of National Conference (N.C.) president Farooq Abdullah to form the “People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration”, with the stated objective of fighting for restoration of Article 370, which was abrogated unilaterally by the Indian government on August 5, 2019.

The signatories include Mehbooba Mufti of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sajjad Lone of the People’s Conference (P.C.), Muzaffar Shah of the Awami National Conference (ANC), Yousuf Tarigami of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Javaid Mir of the People’s Movement besides Omar Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah of the N.C. The Congress did not send any representative to the meeting that took place at Farooq Abdullah’s residence in Srinagar on October 15.

Farooq Abdullah told the media on the sidelines of the meeting: “We have named this alliance People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration. Our battle is a constitutional battle, we want the government of India to return to the people of the State the rights they held before 5th August 2019.”

He said that the alliance would press for a dialogue between all stakeholders for resolution of the Kashmir conflict, though he did not brief the media about the contours of the struggle they planned to launch. “We will be informing you about the future course of action in due course,” he said.

The meeting took place a couple of days after Mehbooba Mufti was released from detention on October 13. In her first audio message posted on her Twitter handle after her release, she described the Centre’s August 5 action as “unconstitutional, undemocratic and unlawful”. She said that “nobody among us can forget the day’s robbery and humiliation [of August 5, 2019].”

On October 14, Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah called on Mehbooba Mufti at her Gupkar Road residence and agreed to hold an all party meet the following day.

Earlier, on August 22, the N.C., the PDP, the CPI (M), the Congress, the ANC, and the P.C. issued a statement reiterating their commitment to stand by the Gupkar Declaration of August 4, 2019. The Gupkar Declaration says that “any modification, abrogation of Articles 35A, 370, unconstitutional delimitation or trifurcation of the State would be an aggression against the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh”.

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