Jammu: Mainstream leaders from Jammu and Kashmir arrived in Delhi for a key all-party meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, the first such outreach since the controversial scrapping of the region’s special status and its bifurcation two years ago.
The meeting, to be attended by 14 political leaders, doesn’t have any fixed agenda but Kashmir leaders have indicated that they will press for restoration of Article 370 and full statehood.
“We will put our point of view in the meeting tomorrow. The biggest thing what has been taken away from us should be given back to us,” said Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, Communist Party of India leader and spokesperson for the five-party alliance, People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD)
In a meeting on Tuesday, PAGD decided to attend the meeting to be held at the PM’s residence at 3pm. All participants have been asked to submit negative Covid reports.
Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti arrived in Delhi on Wednesday afternoon and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah will fly to the Capital on Thursday morning.
”Farooq Abdullah will travel to Delhi on Thursday for the meeting. Omar Abdullah is already in national capital and he is also scheduled to attend the meeting,” said NC spokesman Imran Nabi.
Tarigami, Peoples Conference chairman Sajjad Lone, Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari. former deputy chief minister Muzuffar Beig, Congress J&K president Ghulam Ahmad Mir and former J&K deputy chief minister Tarachand also reached Delhi on Wednesday. “We (Congress leaders) will ask for agenda for this important meeting and then put our point of view before the PM,” said J&K Congress president, Ghulam Ahmad Mir.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state chief and former deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh also arrived in Delhi.
The meeting signals the restarting of political engagement between mainstream Kashmiri parties and the Centre, which in August 2019 voided Articles 370 and 35A that bestowed special status to Jammu and Kashmir and privileges to its residents, and split the state into two Union territories. All mainstream political leaders were detained, internet and phone connections were snapped and curfew-like restrictions were imposed in the Valley for months.