Political parties in Kashmir on Saturday unanimously resolved to fight for restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir as it existed pre-5 August, 2019, saying the measures taken were “spitefully shortsighted” and “grossly unconstitutional”.
The parties reiterated that they are bound, wholly, by the contents of the ‘Gupkar Declaration’, a resolution issued after an all-party meeting on 4 August, 2019 at the Gupkar residence of NC president Farooq Abdullah.
The resolution at the end of the meet on August 4, 2019, a day before the Centre announced its decision of revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and split it into two union territories, said the parties unanimously resolved that they would be united in their resolve to protect and defend the identity, autonomy and special status of Jammu and Kashmir against all attacks and onslaughts.
“That modification, abrogation of Articles 35A and 370, unconstitutional delimitation or trifurcation of the state would be an aggression against the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh,” the ‘Gupkar Declaration’ read that day.
On Saturday, over a year later, the parties issued a joint statement saying they adhere to the last year’s declaration.
“We all reiterate that we are bound, wholly, by the contents of the Gupkar Declaration and will unwaveringly adhere to it. We are committed to strive for the restoration of Articles 370 and 35A, the Constitution of J-K and the restoration of the state and any division of the state is unacceptable to us. We unanimously reiterate that there can be ‘nothing about us without us’,” the statement said.
The statement, issued by the parties through National Conference (NC), said the signatories to the Gupkar Declaration of 4 August last year have barely managed to establish basic level of communication with each other in the face of “a series of prohibitive and punitive curbs” imposed by the government, “aimed at impeding all social and political interactions”.
However, they said, the limited confabulations held within the constraints imposed have resulted in this unanimous resolution.
The signatories of the joint statement include NC president Farooq Abdullah, incarcerated PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee president GA Mir, CPM leader MY Tarigami, Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone and Jammu and Kashmir Awami National Conference senior vice-president Muzaffar Shah.
The statement said the “unfortunate events” of 5 August last year have unrecognizably 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. The series of measures undertaken on 5 August, 2019 were grossly unconstitutional and in reality measures of disempowerment and a challenge to the basic identity of the people of J-K. The measures attempt to redefine who we are. These changes were accompanied by repressive measures meant to silence people and coerce them into submission, and continue unabated,” it said.
The parties said these are testing times and times of pain for the peace-loving people of Jammu and Kashmir and said they assure the people that all their political activities will be subservient to the “sacred goal” of reverting to the status of J-K as it existed on August 4, 2019.
“We all reiterate our commitment to collectively fight to restore the special status of J-K as guaranteed under the Constitution and the commitments made from time to time. There is unanimity amongst us that collective institution is the effective way to fight for these rights and tirelessly struggle to get back the special status and restore the Constitutional guarantees forcibly taken away, against our will.
“We want to assure the people that all our political activities will be subservient to the sacred goal of reverting to the status of J-K as it existed on August 4, 2019,” the statement said.
While expressing gratitude to the people of India, political parties, intelligentsia and other civil society groups for opposing the “unconstitutional” measures of 5 August last year and “ever since standing with the people of J-K in this crises, we appeal for their unstinted support to our just cause till the unconstitutional measures of August 5, 2019 are undone and the special status of J-K restored”.
The parties exhorted the leadership of the subcontinent to take due notice of the “ever-increasing skirmishes” at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Line of Control (LoC) resulting in casualties on both sides and unabated violent incidents in J-K and work for enduring peace in the region.