'Worried about vacillating stand on J&K special status'

Worried about vacillating stand of national parties on J&K special status: Tarigami

Tarigami said he welcomed the idea of the meeting, but told PM Modi that such an exercise should have happened before August 2019

Senior CPI(M) leader Yousuf Tarigami. Credit: PTI File Photo

There appears to be unease among a section of Kashmiri leaders about Congress' reluctance to push for restoration of special status for Jammu and Kashmir with senior CPI(M) leader Yousuf Tarigami saying he is "worried" about the "vacillation" of national parties on the issue.

Tarigami, also the spokesperson of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, who on Thursday was invited to a meeting of Kashmiri leaders with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, made the remarks during a media interaction with a select group of journalists.

Demanding restoration of special status and constitutional rights of people, he said the Governor cannot represent the constitutional position or constitutional rights of people in Kashmir or any area.

"We want restoration...We want the Prime Minister to consider it. You are talking to Nagaland. How are you doing it? Obviously not by bulldozing. Why can't that be followed in Kashmir? Even national parties are vacillating (on special status). I am worried about that," he said. Tarigami did not name any party.

He said some parties had cooperated with the government when special status was revoked, but this action "compromised" the federal structure of the country.

The revocation of the special status should be seen as an attack on the basic structure and one "should not see this in isolation", he added.

Tarigami said he welcomed the idea of the meeting, but told the Prime Minister during the meeting that such an exercise should have happened before August 2019 when the Centre "unilaterally" moved to revoke special status and bifurcate the state into two Union Territories.

The senior CPI(M) leader, who was among the 14 Kashmiri leaders who attended the Thursday meeting, also questioned the Centre's insistence of going ahead with delimitation before an election in Jammu and Kashmir, pointing out that the exercise was announced in four other states along with Jammu and Kashmir.

"Assam was one of the states. But when Assembly polls was announced recently, an exception was given to Assam and the elections were held without delimitation. Then why is it necessary that delimitation be a condition for polls in Jammu and Kashmir? This is creating doubts in the minds of people," he said.

He said there is a demand cutting across party lines for restoration of full statehood and the CPI(M) stand is that the demand for full statehood includes Ladakh.

Home Minister Amit Shah told the meeting that the Prime Minister and himself had assured on the floor of Parliament, and outside, that statehood will be restored, but at an appropriate time. But "our question is what is this appropriate time", Tarigami asked.

While welcoming the initiative to hold a meeting, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said nothing tangible had emerged from the deliberations.

He said it appeared that the meeting was called more due to international pressure rather than domestic issues with the United States withdrawing from Afghanistan.

"We had seen the Track-2 diplomacy with Pakistan, details of which we are not privy to. There is some concern in the United States regarding India-Pakistan relations. The question is whether it is only to address an international audience. That we will have to wait and see," he said.

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