SRINAGAR: Making clear there can be “nothing about us without us” in Jammu and Kashmir, six mainstream political parties termed abrogation of special status of the erstwhile state as a “spitefully shortsighted” and “grossly unconstitutional” move and pledged a combined effort for restoration of the pre-August 5 position of last year.
A resolution termed Gupkar Declaration-II was circulated in media. It was signed by National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, J&K Congress chief G A Mir, Peoples’ Conference leader Sajjad Lone, state CPM leader M Y Tarigami and Jammu and Kashmir Awami National Conference senior vice-president Muzaffar Shah.
This is the first combined statement issued by the political parties after more than a year.
Acknowledging the difficulties in bringing out a resolution of all political parties, it said the signatories to the Gupkar Declation-I, signed on August 4, 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, it said.
These leaders had met on the eve of August 5, 2019 at the Gupkar residence of Abdullah and a statement, also known as ‘Gupkar Declaration’, had asked people to maintain calm and peace and urged the Centre not to alter the constitutional status of the erstwhile state.
However, the very next day the government moved a resolution in Parliament and announced abrogation of Article 370, a provision giving edge in residency and jobs to local people, and also bifurcated it into two union territories — Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir.
“We all reiterate that we are bound, wholly, by the contents of the Gupkar Declaration and will unwaveringly adhere to it. 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’,” Gupkar Resolution-II said.
The national and regional political parties termed the changes made in the state in August last year as “unfortunate” which have unrecognizably changed the relationship between Jammu and Kashmir and New Delhi.
“In a spitefully shortsighted 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.
It said the measures undertaken last year were “grossly unconstitutional” and in reality measures of disempowerment and a challenge to the basic identity of the people of J&K. “The measures attempt to redefine who we are. These changes were accompanied by repressive measures meant to silence people and coerce them into submission, and continue unabated,” it said.
“We all reiterate our 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,” the resolution said, adding these were the testing times and times of pain for the peace loving people of Jammu and Kashmir.
There is unanimity among political parties that a 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 their will, it said.
“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,” it said.
The political parties also expressed their gratitude to the people of India, political parties, intelligentsia and other civil society groups for opposing the unconstitutional measures of last year and standing with the people of J&K in this crises and appealed to them to continue with their “unstinted support to our just cause” till the unconstitutional measures of are undone and the special status restored.
Touching upon the situation along Line of Control with Pakistan and Line of Actual Control with China, the resolution said, “We exhort 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.”