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Pre-Aug 5 position, release of jailed youth among Bukahri’s promises at Srinagar convention

SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party chief Altaf Bukhari on Saturday said his party will hire the country’s best lawyers to fight in the Supreme Court for the restoration of Articles 370 and 35A.

Addressing a public meeting at Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium here, Bukhari also demanded that Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood be restored.

On August 5, 2019, the Centre revoked the special status granted to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution and divided it into two union territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

It also abrogated Article 35A which allowed the state to define its permanent residents.

“The issue (of abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A) is in the Supreme Court and I promise you we will hire the best lawyers of India to fight for their restoration even if we have to spend crores of rupees.

“We will fight in the Supreme Court as our case is strong and we will get Articles 370 and 35A back through our lawyers,” Bukhari told the gathering.

He said Jammu and Kashmir’s special status cannot be brought back through any election and those who are saying so are befooling the people and “they do not have any shame”.

“You divided our state into two… union territories. We want our statehood back. Today, the people have come here so that I take this up with the prime minister and tell him that this is your promise, this is the promise of the home minister of India, kindly restore the status of J&K as it existed on August 5, 2019 (before the Centre’s decision),” he said.

Batting for immediate assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Bukhari said the people’s participation in large numbers in the public meeting is a message to the Centre that they want their own elected government and identity.

Bukhari further said the JKAP will constitute a team that will visit various jails in Jammu and Kashmir and outside to collect details about youths languishing there and the cases against them.

Then, he said, the JKAP will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah and seek the release of these youths.

“We want an opportunity for them to start their lives afresh. We will try to make masjid and mohalla committees responsible for the conduct of such youths,” he added.

Bukhari appealed to the people and the leadership to start a “new politics” which has no place for violence and discrimination and talks about peace and return of Kashmiri Pandits.

The JKAP chief promised increased employment opportunities for the youth if his party comes to power after the assembly elections.

He also promised to provide mining rights exclusively to locals and increase the old age pension from Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000.

“We will provide free 500 units of electricity in Jammu in summer months and 500 units in Kashmir in winter months,” Bukhari said.


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