Political parties in Kashmir on Saturday unanimously resolved to fight for restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir as it existed pre-August 5, 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 August 4, 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 J-K'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, said the signatories to the Gupkar Declaration of August 4 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 People's Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti, Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee president G A Mir, Communist Party of India-Marxist leader M Y 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 August 5 last year have unrecognizably changed the relationship between J-K 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 August 5, 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 August 5 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.
Cong stands for full statehood of J-K, constitutional safeguards for residents land & jobs
The Jammu and Kashmir Congress on Saturday said it stands for the struggle to safeguard genuine rights of the people and the lost identity of the erstwhile state after the abrogation of its special status last year.
'The party has time and again reiterated its demand for the restoration of full statehood of Jammu and Kashmir along with constitutional guarantees and safeguards for the land and jobs to local residents.
'The party also supports the demand of the people of Ladakh for protection of their rights under the sixth schedule of the Constitution,' J&K Pradesh Congress Committee president G A Mir said in a statement here.
He said the entire top brass of the party would meet shortly to review the whole post-Aug 5 situation and take the 'appropriate decision to intensify its struggle on all issues, taking into account the sentiments of the majority of the people in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh'.
Mir said his party, along with other like-minded parties, had on August 4, 2019 sought the status quo on the issue of special status amid the apprehensions that the central government may resort to some 'unique and unilateral' action.
'Those fears came out to be true when the Centre government resorted to the undemocratic and arbitrary exercise of power by disbanding, dividing and downgrading the historical state into (two) UTs while abrogating the special status of the state unconstitutionally, followed by lockdown and unprecedented restrictions on all mainstream leaders,' the Congress leader said.
He said his party vehemently opposed the 'unilateral and arbitrary' moves of the Centre both in the Parliament and outside it and consistently protested against its 'undemocratic and authoritarian actions' that followed after August 5 decisions.
Kashmir politicians day-dreaming, restoration of Articles 370 next to impossible: BJP
Meanwhile, J-K Bharatiya Janata Party president Ravinder Raina on Saturday said the Kashmir-based politicians are 'day-dreaming' for the restoration of Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution which is '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.
Raina said 'the restoration of Articles 370 & 35(a) is next to impossible. Due to these Articles, J&K has suffered for decades and they gave rise to terrorism, separatism and flared up the Pakistani agenda and as such, they won't be restored at any cost'.
'Kashmir-based leaders are doing nothing except daydreaming as they are feeling restless to return to the corridors of power to enjoy all luxuries for themselves and their near and dear ones,' Raina said, addressing party workers at Sialsui village of Kalakote in Rajouri district.
He alleged that due to the pre-370 arrangements, more than one lakh people have lost their lives in J-K because these 'pseudo-leaders were carrying on their duties with the hidden agenda of Pakistan'.
'After the abrogation of these Articles, the communities like West Pakistan Refugees, Gorkha Samaaj, Valmiki Samaj, daughters of the soil, Gujjar-Bakarwals and many other communities enjoyed the air of freedom as they were being discriminated on every issue earlier,' the BJP leader alleged.
Raina said the people of J-K have rejected the 'dirty politics' of parties like the NC, Congress, PDP and the People's Conference and the J&K is now progressing on the definitive lines of unprecedented development.