SRINAGAR: Ahead of the all-party meet, the Centre's first political outreach to J&K after the revocation of Article 370 that begins in a few hours, the J&K Congress chief has said that they will inform the Prime Minister, who will be chairing the meet, of what the Jammu and Kashmir people lost after August 5, 2019.
J&K Congress chief Ghulam Ahmed Mir told The New Indian Express that the invitation for the all-party meet was extended without an agenda. "This has never happened before," he observed.
The all-party meet to be chaired by PM Narendra Modi will be held in New Delhi at 3 pm on Thursday. At least 14 J&K leaders including four former CMs have been invited.
"Our effort will be to first listen to the agenda of the PM. If he wants to listen, we will tell him what they (government) and the J&K people lost after Article 370 revocation. We will give him a powerpoint presentation on it," Mir said.
"The PM is misleading the world by saying that they 'brought stars to the earth' after Article 370's revocation. We live here and we will inform him about the true picture and the impact on people," he added.
Mir said they will inform the PM that J&K people are in shock for the last two years after the Centre scrapped "our special status, snatched out statehood and bifurcated the state into two UTs. They have handed over J&K to the bureaucracy."
On August 5, 2019, the Centre scrapped Articles 370 and 35A, which granted special status to J&K and special privileges to J&K residents, and bifurcated J&K state into two Union Territories.
"We will be representing the aspirations and wishes of the J&K people at the all-party meet. We cannot ignore the aspirations of people of J&K," Mir said.
In response to a question, J&K Congress chief said he feels that there is a realisation at the highest levels that whatever was done on August 5, 2019 has not achieved anything on the ground.
He, however, said in the next five to six months, Assembly elections in some states are set to be held and when these Assembly elections and LS polls are held, J&K always is brought to the centrestage. "When elections are held in any state, the reference is made of J&K."
"It could be possible that to hide his government's failure in managing Covid and to face polls in other states, the PM may try to prepare the ground for it from J&K," Mir said.
Asked why the Centre is convening an all-party meet, the J&K Congress chief said they will come to know about it through the posturing and language of the PM.
"We too want to know why for two years they were speaking different languages. They were labeling somebody as Chinese, somebody as Pakistani and somebody as separatists and now all of a sudden how they have realised that they all are part of this country. The body language and agenda will make it clear," Mir said.
Kashmir Pandit group demands restoration of statehood with special status
Satish Mahaldar, chairman of Kashmiri Pandit group -- Reconciliation Return & Rehabilitation of Migrants -- said the PM's all-party meet with J&K leaders is an important step in building political confidence in J&K, which lost its statehood on August 5, 2019.
"It is an opportune time to give back what is rightfully ours. The statehood to J&K should be announced as early as possible. But, along with statehood, special status should be restored to J&K," he said.
Mahaldar said the fact is that J&K is surrounded by two hostile countries -- Pakistan and China --- and witnessing militancy. So, it becomes imperative to accord special status to J&K.
The Kashmir Pandit group also demanded guaranteed and protected rights to minorities and disadvantaged communities; preference to locals in jobs, educational institutions and setting up of industries, and protection of land and representation of the minorities in the J&K Assembly.