Demand for restoration of special status | Chidambaram urges JK parties to stand resolutely

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Former Union minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday welcomed a joint resolution of six national and regional parties in Jammu and Kashmir, and appealed to them to stand “resolutely” behind their demand for restoration of special status of the erstwhile state.

“Salute the unity and courage of six mainstream Opposition parties who came together yesterday (Saturday) to fight the repeal of Article 370,” tweeted the former Union minister, who held portfolios like home and finance.

Six political parties, including the National Conference and its arch rival PDP, issued the resolution making clear that there can be “nothing about us without us”, a statement which clearly indicated that the Centre has to take into confidence people of Jammu and Kashmir before implementing any constitutional change.

The political parties termed the abrogation of special status of the erstwhile state under Article 370 of the Constitution as a “spitefully shortsighted” and “grossly unconstitutional” move and pledged a combined effort for restoration of the pre-August 5 position of last year.

In a series of tweets in both English and Hindi, Chidambaram said, “I appeal to them to stand resolutely behind their demand. Ignore the uninformed criticism of self-styled nationalists who do not read history but try to re-write history.”

Stating that the Constitution contained many examples of special provisions for states and asymmetric distribution of power, he said, “How will the government resolve the Naga issues if it is against making Special Provisions?”

The Saturday’s resolution, termed Gupkar Declaration-II, was circulated in the media. It was signed by National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, J-K Congress chief G A Mir, People’s Conference leader Sajjad Lone, state CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami, and Jammu and Kashmir Awami National Conference senior vice-president Muzaffar Shah.

This is the first combined statement issued by the political parties after more than a year.

The national and regional political parties termed the changes made in the state in August last year as “unfortunate” which have unrecognisably changed the relationship between Jammu and Kashmir and New Delhi.

“In a spitefully shortsighted and unconstitutional move, Articles 370 and 35A were abrogated and the state was bifurcated and relegated to the status of two Union Territories and its Constitution tried to be made unenforceable”, it had said.

The Jammu and Kashmir unit of BJP president Ravinder Raina termed this demand of the six political parties as “day-dreaming” and made it clear that restoration of special status was “next to impossible”.

He claimed the controversial Articles were like a “wall of hatred” which did nothing except “digging an ocean of misunderstandings” and retarding the growth and development of the erstwhile state.

On the resolution, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti’s Twitter handle, which is being operated by her daughter Iltija, posted a comment saying that “Ms Mufti appreciates the statesmanship shown by Dr Farooq sahab in forging a collective response to Delhi’s onslaught on JK’s special status. It’s time we forego political differences and stand together.”

Mehbooba Mufti is currently under detention. People’s Conference leader Sajjad Lone, who was a former ally of the BJP in the last government of the state, tweeted that it was a “very satisfying day. We firmly believe that a collective mechanism is the only way out. It is no longer about power. It is about a struggle to get back what rightfully belongs to us. Thanks Dr Farooq sahib, Mehbooba Ji and Tarigami sahib.”