Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after the meeting with leaders of the regional parties of Jammu and Kashmir, said the government’s priority is to strengthen grassroots democracy in the region. He termed today’s meet as an “important step" in the ongoing efforts towards a developed and progressive Jammu and Kashmir.
“Our democracy’s biggest strength is the ability to sit across a table and exchange views. I told the leaders of J&K that it is the people, specially the youth who have to provide political leadership to J&K, and ensure their aspirations are duly fulfilled," he said after the meeting.
“Our priority is to strengthen grassroots democracy in J&K. Delimitation has to happen at a quick pace so that polls can happen and J&K gets an elected Government that gives strength to J&K’s development trajectory," he said.
While the Jammu and Kashmir leaders, who were present at the meeting, expressed hopes for restoration of statehood as they also appealed to the Centre to undertake measures that would help build trust among the people. Here’s how that leaders reacted following the meeting:
“Building trust in Jammu and Kashmir is necessary today. Restoration of full statehood of Jammu and Kashmir will be the first trust-building exercise from New Delhi side," said former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah.
“Restoration of full statehood of Jammu and Kashmir will be the first trust-building exercise from New Delhi side," he said.
Ghulam Nabi Azad:
Senior Congress leader and former J&K CM Ghulam Nabi Azad said: “We raised five issues in the all-party meet: 1) Restoration of Statehood; 2) Assembly polls; 3) Protection of land rights of the people of J&K; 4) Honourable and dignified return of Kashmiri Pandits; 5) Immediate release of political prisoners."
He further said, “Home Minister Amit Shah has assured of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir."
“People of J&K will struggle constitutionally, democratically, peacefully. Be it months or years, we’ll restore Article 370 in J&K as it’s a matter of our identity. We didn’t get it from Pakistan, it was given to us by our country, by Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel," said former chief minister and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti after the meeting.
Former J&K chief minister and NC leader, Omar Abullah said, “Whatever has happened that happened, but it’s good that now we got the opportunity to speak. And we spoke freely and openly on our agendas."
“We told the PM that the trust has been lost among people there, so now this is the time get the trust back. Full statehood should be given to Jammu and Kashmir," he said after the meeting.
“Today’s meeting on Jammu and Kashmir was conducted in a very cordial environment. Everyone expressed their commitment to democracy and the constitution. It was stressed to strengthen the democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir. We are committed to ensure all round development of J&K," said Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
“The future of Jammu and Kashmir was discussed and the delimitation exercise and peaceful elections are important milestones in restoring statehood as promised in parliament," he said.
We are committed to ensure all round development of J&K.The future of Jammu and Kashmir was discussed and the delimitation exercise and peaceful elections are important milestones in restoring statehood as promised in parliament.
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) June 24, 2021
“On delimitation, the prime minister said we want everyone’s cooperation and participation," said Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference leader Sajjad Lone.
“PM’s remarks are focused on elections in J&K. And J&K getting it’s own elected government."
“The issue of Article 370 was raised. The prime minister said we should work within the constitutional framework (which means rejected the idea)," said former J&K deputy chief minister Kavinder Gupta.
On the issue of political prisoners, raised by the Gupkar parties, Amit Shah gave a presentation and showed data to say that only a dozen prisoners are still in custody under the PSA. A committee will be formed to secure their release, Gupta said.
“On Article 370 abrogation, the People’s Conference leader said the matter is pending in Supreme Court, there was no point in discussing it," said former deputy chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and JKPC leader Muzaffar Baig.
“The PM assured us of restoration of statehood and start of political activities," said Apni Party chief Altaf Bukhari.
“Prime minister, during the all-party meeting, condemned the statement made by some leaders where it was said ‘you took section 370 from us , we will take your daughters from you’."