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‘Division of State Unacceptable’: NC, PDP, Congress Vow to Fight for Restoration of Article 370 in J&K

Former J&K CMs Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah.

Former J&K CMs Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah.

Calling the August 5, 2019 decision 'unfortunate'', the leaders said the move unrecognisably changed the relationship between J&K and New Delhi.

Kashmir's main political forces have decided to close flanks and fight for restoration of Article 370 and 35A that were repealed by the BJP-led government more than a year ago.

National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah, People's Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti, Congress head GA Mir and Sajjad Lone-led People's Conference have vowed to fight for the restoration of the two special articles that were scrapped by the Parliament in August last year.

The leaders, according to a National Conference (NC) press handout, have reiterated that they are bound by the Gupkar Declaration of August 2019 that pledged to protect JK's quasi autonomy constitutional position.

The Gupkar Declaration was adopted by the Kashmir based parties and Congress days before the August 5 decision was taken by central government.

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The decision was preceded by the wanton arrest of hundreds of political leaders, including three former chief ministers and youngsters deemed as chronic protestors.

''We are committed to strive for the restoration of Articles 370 and 35A, the Constitution of J&K and the restoration of the State and any division of the State is unacceptable to us. We unanimously reiterate that there can be "nothing about us without us,'' read an NC press statement that was circulated on behalf of all leaders.

Though the leaders of different parties have not been able to meet physically at one place, sources indicate they have been in touch with each other since the last few weeks.

''The signatories to the GUPKAR DECLARATION of 4th August 2019 have barely managed to establish basic level of communication with each other in the face of a series of prohibitive and punitive curbs imposed by the government, aimed at impeding all social and political interactions. The limited confabulations held within the constraints imposed have resulted in this unanimous resolution,'' the NC wrote in the statement.

Calling the August 5, 2019 decision "unfortunate", the leaders said the move unrecognisably changed the relationship between J&K and New Delhi.

''In a spitefully short-sighted and unconstitutional move, Articles 370 and 35A were abrogated and the State was bifurcated and relegated to the status of two Union Territories and its Constitution tried to be made unenforceable,'' it said.

The leaders noted that the series of measures undertaken on August 5 last year were grossly unconstitutional and in reality measures of disempowerment and a challenge to the basic identity of the people of J&K. These changes were accompanied by repressive measures meant to silence people and coerce them into submission, and continue unabated, they said.

The signatories reiterated their commitment to collectively fight to restore the special status of J&K as guaranteed under the Constitution and the commitments made from time to time.

''There is unanimity amongst us that collective institution is the effective way to fight for these rights and tirelessly struggle to get back the special status and restore the Constitutional guarantees forcibly taken away, against our will. We want to assure the people that all our political activities will be subservient to the sacred goal of reverting to the status of J&K as it existed on 4th August 2019,'' the release said aiming to reassure the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

While expressing gratitude to the people of India, the political parties, the intelligentsia and other civil society groups for opposing the unconstitutional measures of August 5, 2019 and ever since standing with the people of J&K in this crises, the leaders thanked those who offered their unstinted support to our just cause till the unconstitutional measures of August 5, 2019 are undone and the special status of J&K restored.

They also exhorted leadership of the subcontinent to take due notice of the ever increasing skirmishes at the LAC and LOC resulting in casualties on both sides and unabated violent incidents in J&K and work for enduring peace in the region.