Home Minister Amit Shah says the meeting discussed delimitation exercise and restoring statehood as promised in parliament, reports Asian Lite News
The high-profile all-party meeting called by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir concluded at the Prime Minister’s official residence in New Delhi on Thursday evening.
The meeting which began at around 3 pm IST and was attended by 14 prominent leaders from the Union Territory.
Several leaders who attended the meeting said the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured that assembly election will be held in J&K soon after the delimitation process is completed.
During the meeting, the government shared a presentation on the developmental projects and schemes in Jammu and Kashmir. Sources say Modi expressed satisfaction with the “acceleration of development” in the UT and said that it is “creating new hope and aspirations among the people”.
The PM reportedly also said that political differences would arise but everyone should work in the national interest so that the people of J&K benefit from it. He stressed that an atmosphere of safety and security needs to be ensured for all sections of society in J&K.
Another crucial statement came from Union Home Minister Amit Shah who 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. 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.”
Speaking to mediapersons after the meeting, former J&K Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, the party had raised five demands during the meeting. “We demanded statehood for J&K should be restored at the earliest. The prime minister and the home minister had promised in Parliament to restore J&K’s statehood at the appropriate time. We told the government that now is the favourable situation for it. We also demanded the government to hold assembly elections in J&K at the earliest,” Azad said.
The Congress leader said the Congress party also demanded that efforts must be made to ensure return of Kashmiri Pandits and their rehabilitation.
Among the leaders who are participated in the meeting 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; CPM’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.
Meanwhile, Muzaffar Baig, chairman of the People’s Conference said, “We were all in agreement that we must work for democracy and development of J&K. The PM listened very patiently. He was reassuring and responded to all points raised in the meeting.” People’s Conference leader Sajjad Lone said the meeting was cordial. “We came out quite positive that hopefully there will be some delivery for the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
J&K Apni Party’s Altaf Bukhari said PM Modi heard everyone and asked all to participate in the delimitation process. “We have been assured that this is the roadmap towards elections,” Altaf Bukhari said.
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.
However, the government skipped inviting Hurriyat. Reacting to the meeting held today, Altaf Hussain Wani rejecting the conference said that holding talks with “so-called politicians” and giving the impression that the situation in Kashmir is returning to normalcy, is wrong. “The Indian government has always betrayed the people of Kashmir,” he said, adding that there was no other option for the people of Kashmir but for them to be given the right to self-determination.
“We requested 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 Abdullah, National Conference
“People of J&K are angry and humiliated since August 2019… … we will constitutionally, democratically and peacefully struggle for the restoration of special status, which was granted to us by former PM Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.”
Mehbooba Mufti, Peoples Democratic Party