Committed to restoring statehood: PM Narendra Modi tells J&K leaders after all-party meet

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday (June 24) told the meeting of political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir that the assembly election process will begin when the delimitation process ends, Apni Party chief Altaf Bukhari said on Thursday. Bukhari told media persons that talks were held in a ‘good atmosphere’.He said the Prime Minister urged the political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir to participate in the delimitation process.

The Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party leader said the Prime Minister also told the meeting that the government was committed to the restoration of statehood. “The Prime Minister heard our issues of all leaders. He said that the election process will begin when the delimitation process finishes. The Prime Minister asked all to participate in the delimitation process. We have been assured that this is the roadmap towards elections. Prime Minister also said that we are committed to the restoration of statehood,” he said. 

The all-party meeting, which began at around 3 pm, lasted for almost five hours. It was attended by 14 prominent leaders from Jammu and Kashmir, including four former Chief Ministers of the state-now-turned-into-union territory. This was the first high-level interaction between the Centre and political leadership mainly from Kashmir since August 5, 2019, when the Centre revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and the state was bifurcated into two union territories.

Among the leaders who are participated in the all-party meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi were Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad, Tara Chand and GA Mir, National Conference’s Dr Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti, J-K Apni Party’s Altaf Bukhari, BJP’s Ravinder Raina, Nirmal Singh, and Kavinder Gupta, CPI(M)’s M Y Tarigami, National Panthers Party’s Prof Bheem Singh; and Peoples Conference’s Sajad Gani Lone.

Home Minister Amit Shah, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha and Home Secretary also attended the meeting.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “We kept 5 demands in the meeting- grant statehood soon, conduct Assembly elections to restore democracy, rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in J&K, all political detainees should be released and on domicile rules. The Home Minister said the government is committed to granting statehood to Jammu and Kashmir. All leaders demanded full-fledged statehood.”

Muzaffar Hussain Baig said, “All leaders demanded statehood. To which PM said, the delimitation process should conclude first and then other issues will be addressed. It was a satisfactory meeting. There was complete unanimity for restoring peace in Jammu and Kashmir.”

J&K BJP chief Ravinder Raina, “All leaders of Jammu and Kashmir have been assured by PM Narendra Modi that all will work together for the future and betterment of J&K. PM Modi heard everyone and said that all steps will be taken for the development of the people of J&K.”

PDP chief and former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said, “People of Jammu and Kashmir are in a lot of difficulties after August 5, 2019. They’re angry, upset and emotionally shattered. They feel humiliated. I told the Prime Minister that people of J&K don’t accept the manner in which Article 370 was abrogated unconstitutionally, illegally and immorally.” “People of Jammu and Kashmir will struggle constitutionally, democratically, peacefully. Be it months or yrs, 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 JL Nehru, Sardar Patel,” she added. 

Union Minister Amit Shah said, “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.”

National Conference chief Omar Abdullah said, “We told the Prime Minister that we don’t stand with what was done on August 5, 2019. We’re not ready to accept it. But we won’t take law into hands. We’ll fight this in court. We also told PM that there’s been breach of trust b/w State & Centre. It’s Centre’s duty to restore it.” “We requested the PM that our fight will continue but it’s essential to reverse some decisions that aren’t at all in the interest of J&K. It was given the status of a UT, people don’t like it. They want full statehood for J&K with J&K cadre restored,” Omar added. 


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