New Abdullah-Mufti Alliance Vows to Restore Kashmir Status

Photo: Farooq Abdullah
Photo: Farooq Abdullah

Mr Abdullah said that the alliance has been formed to restore the special status that existed in J&K before the abolition of Article 370.

By Rakesh Raman

Close on the heels of Mehbooba Mufti’s release from detention on October 13, prominent Kashmiri leader and National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah declared today (October 15) and alliance with Ms Mufti’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The new alliance named “People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration” aims to get the special status of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) restored. PM Narendra Modi’s government had abolished Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5, 2019 to deprive Kashmiris of their special rights.

Expecting opposition from the local political groups in Kashmir, the Modi government had arbitrarily arrested Ms Mufti along with a number of other top leaders including Mr Abdullah, just before the revocation of Article 370.

After holding a meeting today with other leaders of NC and PDP, Mr Abdullah said that the alliance has been formed to restore the special status that existed in J&K before the abolition of Article 370.

The formation of the new alliance holds added significance because recently Mr Abdullah had said that the people of Kashmir – nearly 80% of them are Muslims – do not want to live with India.

In a media interview, he said categorically that Kashmiris have no trust in the Central government led by PM Modi and his home minister Amit Shah. He added that people of troubled Kashmir prefer to live under the Chinese rule instead of living with India.

On August 22, Mr Abdullah, who lives in Gupkar locality of Srinagar, had announced Gupkar Declaration II, which was signed by leaders of six pro-India political parties in Kashmir – a disputed territory between India and Pakistan. They had pledged to collectively fight for the restoration of the special status of J&K as guaranteed under the Constitution.

The first Gupkar Declaration was made on August 4, 2019, when political parties in J&K had met and vowed to protect its autonomy and special status, guaranteed under Article 370.

Today’s meeting, which was held at Mr Abdullah’s residence, was attended by Ms Mufti, Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Lone, CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, and Peoples Movement leader Javaid Mir.

Omar Abdullah, vice president of National Conference, and other senior leaders of the party were also present at the meeting.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.

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Rakesh Raman