Friends and foes of mainstream politics in Kashmir cobbled together a new political alliance on Thursday at the Gupkar residence of Farooq Abdullah and named it the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration. After the meeting, they told the media that whatever has been “snatched” from the people of Jammu and Kashmir would be taken back from the Centre and “this fight will be priority for them and not any form of elections”.
National Conference leaders, including Omar Abdullah, PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti, PC chief Sajad Gani Lone, CPIM leader Yousuf Tarigami and ANC leader Muzaffar Shah, besides many other small party leaders, were present in the meeting while JK Congress Chief remained absent.
Asked by this reporter, JKPCC Chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir said that due to his health reasons, he skipped the meeting and informed NC leader Dr Farooq Abdullah on telephone. “We are very much part of the Gupkar Declaration and I would be joining the future meetings of the People’s Alliance,” Mir told this reporter.
The central leadership of the Congress has already shown support to the new political alliance, while the recent tweets of P. Chidambaram and Salman Soz have described the Parliament decisions on 5 August 2019 as episodes of tyranny.
Salman Soz in his tweet said, “This episode of tyranny is over. The goal was to intimidate Kashmiri mainstream leaders. But, as all of India is discovering, Kashmir is a laboratory where the limits of authoritarianism are being tested.”
Similarly, P. Chidambaram in his tweet said, “Salute the unity and courage of six mainstream Opposition parties who came together yesterday to fight the repeal of Article 370”.
Reacting to this new alliance, the BJP has already said that it is an anti-national agenda and has warned the leaders of this alliance of serious repercussions if they will breach peace in Kashmir.
Rattled by the unity of mainstream political leaders in Kashmir, BJP J&K chief Ravinder Raina termed the Gupkar Declaration as “anti-national” and “Pakistan sponsored” agenda.
Warning them of consequences, he said, “BJP wants to make it clear here anyone whosoever will try to create disorder won’t be left unpunished.”
After the formation of the alliance, BJP said that the Kashmiri leadership will have to wait for doomsday for restoration of Article 370 and said that this special status is done and dusted once for all.
Farooq Abdullah told the media that they will soon meet again and give shape and direction to the alliance so that people of Jammu and Kashmir, including Ladakh, get a platform and voice to fight for their rights peacefully and in a democratic manner.
Mehbooba Mufti arrived at the residence of Farooq Abdullah in full media glare for the first time as she was invited by the Abdullahs when they visited her residence a day earlier to enquire about her health as she was set free by the government after 14 months of detention.
Mehbooba Mufti, according to insiders present in the meeting, stressed on fighting for the release of all political detainees in Jammu and Kashmir, including separatists. She has already said in an audio message released on a Twitter account just after one hour from the release that thousands of people have given their lives for the Kashmir dispute and it should be resolved without any further delay.
Farooq Abdullah also followed the same lines when he briefed the press and said that not only will they fight collectively for the restoration of Article 370, but also for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute which has consumed not only thousands of lives, but also the economy of Kashmir.
Farooq Abdullah has already said that if the Central government is talking to China even after their behavior in the eastern Ladakh border, why can’t they talk to Pakistan and to the people of Kashmir for the final resolution of the Kashmir dispute.
Mehbooba Mufti has set the stage for the struggle as she has already tried to take the space of separatists in Kashmir who are under detention from the past 14 months. She has talked about detentions and about the killings and also about the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.
“We should all pledge to take back from Delhi what it usurped from us through unconstitutional, illegal, undemocratic means,” Mehbooba said in an audio message on her twitter account.
“We should start the struggle to resolve the Kashmir issue for which thousands of people have sacrificed their lives. I concede this road is not an easy one. But I believe that our resolve will help us win this fight. I am free now, but I want the government to release all other political prisoners who are languishing in different jails in and outside Jammu and Kashmir,” Mufti said further in her message.
According to her daughter, the government was forced to release Mehbooba Mufti when she filed a fresh petition before the Supreme Court seeking the release of her mother. However, the case is closed now in the Supreme Court, but in the earlier response before her release, the government gave a long list of reasons to justify her detention. The government lawyer cited, “Geographical proximity with Pakistan”, and Mehbooba’s “glorifying militant and separatist” statements for the continuation of her detention under the Public Safety Act.