Centre's actions betrayal of trust: J&K leaders tell PM

Centre's actions betrayal of trust: J&K leaders tell PM Modi

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said he had put forth five sets of demands

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during an all-party meeting with various political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir. Credit: PTI File Photo

Several leaders from Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday vented their anger over the Centre’s move to turn the erstwhile state into a union territory and take away its special status and told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that it was an act of betrayal against the people of the state.

The three-and-a-half hour-long meeting between 14 leaders from J&K and PM Modi saw leaders demanding immediate restoration of full statehood, elections to the assembly and steps by the Centre to restore the trust that has been lost by the August 5, 2019 actions.

Also read: Modi assured elections will be held after delimitation, statehood will be restored, say J&K leaders

In 2019, the Modi government had scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir by reading down Article 370 through a Presidential Proclamation in Parliament and bifurcated the state into two union territories.

“We told the Prime Minister that the trust has broken down and it is his responsibility to restore this trust,” former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told reporters after the meeting.

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said he had put forth five sets of demands that included restoration of statehood, holding of elections, rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits, restoration of the J&K cadre, and the constitutional guarantee of land and jobs for the locals.

Azad also demanded the release of political prisoners who were arrested after the state was bifurcated in 2019. He said the meeting had no set agenda and every leader spoke their heart out.

Also read:  Explained | Delimitation in Jammu and Kashmir

Most of the J&K leaders did not demand the restoration of Article 370, contending that the matter was before the Supreme Court and the legal process should be allowed to play out.

PDP chief and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti demanded the reinstatement of Article 370 and asserted that the people of J&K would struggle for it peacefully and constitutionally for months and years together.

“Article 370 was given to us by our own Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and not by Pakistan,” she said.

“People of J&K are angry, hurt, disturbed, emotionally broken and feel humiliated by the illegal and unconstitutional decision taken on August 5,” Mufti said.

Former PDP patron Muzaffar Hussain Baig, who is now with the People's Conference of Sajjad Lone, said the Prime Minister assured them that Kashmir will be a zone of peace and not a zone of conflict.

Altaf Bukhari of the Apni Party said the leaders vented their anger at the meeting with the prime minister, who heard them all like a “father figure”.

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