Will hit streets if New Delhi fails to restore statehood to J&K: Altaf Bukhari

Mubashir Khan/GK

Stating that Article 370 can be restored only by the parliament, J&K Apni Party chief Syed Muhammad Altaf Bukhari Monday said that they will hit the streets in case New Delhi fails to restore the statehood to the J&K UT.

While addressing media men on the occasion of first foundation day anniversary of J&K Apni party, Bukhari demanded holding assembly elections “as soon as possible,” news agency KNO reported.

He said the agenda framed by the Apni Party on the day of its birth was “pursued in letter and spirit but certain things like prolonged shutdown in the wake of Article 370 revocation and bifurcation of erstwhile state of J&K into UTs followed by COVID-19 outbreak we couldn’t pursue our manifesto the way it should have been.”

“Nevertheless, we did our best and didn’t sit in our homes. We didn’t either show hollow dreams to people of J&K and never promised something that is not achievable,” Bukhari said.

He was flanked by party leaders Muhammad Ashraf Mir, SMC Mayor Junaid Matoo and others.

Asked about the Apni Party’s silence over restoration of J&K’s special status, he said that he “can’t make false promises as it is the Parliament of India that can restore special status to J&K”.

“I would like to make it clear that August 5, 2019 was the darkest day in the history of J&K that nobody will forget. We will strive hard for restoration of statehood to J&K and if Delhi delays it, we will not hesitate to hit the streets,” he said.

Bukhari said that “getting the job policy order where youth of J&K were entitled for only Class fourth jobs reversed was the party’s biggest achievement”.

“There are other issues which we are pursuing like 15 years for becoming a domicile of J&K. We are also aware of the ploys as to how J&K Bank was weakened by stripping off its autonomy. This institution is our backbone and we will continue to fight for restoration of its autonomy,” he said.

Demanding early assembly polls, Bukhari said that if Apni Party is voted to power, it “will take historic steps especially making 25 years mandatory for becoming the domicile of the state”.

“We ensured that land policy is amended and today our 88 percent land is safe which is the outcome of our meeting with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah,” he said.

Bukhari also lamented on the National Conference’s decision of staying away from Delimitation exercise.

He suggested the party could have participated in the process and put forth its point. 

“At times, I believe boycotting something is aimed at facilitating the bigger plans. Perhaps, Delhi’s plan was to be made successful by staying away,” he said, taking a jibe at NC. 

He urged the Delimitation Commission to finish its job as soon as possible stating that the exercise was “so simple and not complicated as being projected”.

He Apni Party chief also took a dig at the J&K administration for not being able to resolve the mutton crisis in Kashmir.

“How strange it is that even after four months of stalemate, the government is not able to resolve the mutton issue in the valley. Mutton dealers should be taken into confidence and the crisis must end sooner the better,” he said.