Restore statehood to J&K, hold Assembly polls: Altaf Bukhari

Asking the Centre to undertake the delimitation process in J&K, Altaf Bukhari, Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) President on Friday demanded conduct of Assembly polls in the Union territory.

“We appeal to the government to complete the delimitation process immediately in J&K. The exercise should be transparent and it should not favour any particular political party,” said Bukhari, during his maiden press conference here after launch of his party. “If the process has been delayed because of COVID situation, the government should then conduct the Assembly elections,” Bukhari said.

He demanded issuance of notification for the polls instead of delaying the process on the pretext of the COVID19 situation.

“No one should be allowed to come from the backdoor. Why are we being deprived of democratically elected government in J&K,” said Bukhari, while demanding restoration of statehood to J&K.

Bukhari said the JKAP “knows the officers from Election Commission who were visiting the political party’s office.”

“We also know what they share with them. It is not hidden from anyone,” Bukhari said.

To a question, Bukhari opposed the installation of Toll Plazas in Jammu. “Do we need to see only Toll Plazas in Jammu as a symbol of development? Are they protecting Jammu’s right with the installation of Toll Plazas? Don’t they know any other means for welfare of Jammuities,” Bukhari said while attacking the BJP.

He said Jammu was witnessing unprecedented power cuts and development was missing completely.

Criticising the J&K bureaucracy, Bukhari said: “We have unresponsive bureaucracy which has no connection with the people. The government officials don’t listen to people and they do not receive calls. Unfortunately, under the garb of COVID situation, development has taken backseat and the education system is crumbling,” said Bukhari.

The JKAP President said condition of hospitals was “bad.” “We don’t know who is running which department because of the division in bureaucracy. If things don’t settle, we apprehend people may take control of the things,” Bukhari said.

He expressed surprise as to why there was no roadmap to revive J&K economy.

Bukhari said attempts were made to create division between Jammu to Kashmir from the last 72 years.

He said JKAP has come into formation to defend the unity of Jammu and Kashmir regions since both the regions want restoration of statehood and protection of land rights and jobs.

“Don’t fall prey to the emotional sloganeering of elements trying to divide the two regions. I want to tell those forces that their divisive attempts will never yield fruits anymore,” said Bukhari, demanding a separate CAT Bench at Srinagar.

Bukhari appealed to the government of India to restore statehood to J&K. he also demanded resumption of 4G internet service in J&K.

Demanding an economic package for J&K, Bukhari said he does understand why J&K government was not doing anything for labourers, shopkeepers, industrialists, traders and people who are associated with Tourism industry and other sectors, who have been worst hit due to the COVID19.

“The main source of earning of J&K was tourism and religious tourism. But hotels are empty and the employees there are sitting idle. The government should waive off electricity bills to these sectors instead of deferment of loan which is not a concession,” Bukhari said.