Kashmir Indepth

Political activity gains momentum as PAGD shows willingness for talks with Centre, parties anticipate assembly polls in J&K

Ishtiyaq Ahmad
Kashmir June 14: Twenty months after Centre abrogated Article 370, political activity has gained momentum in Jammu and Kashmir with major political parties expressing willingness to engage in dialogue with New Delhi.
Although there is no formal invitation yet, People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), the seven party group, formed last year seeking restoration of Article 370 has shown willingness to join the talks with Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre.
Senior CPI (M) leader and spokesperson of PAGD Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said they have never been against the dialogue.
“If the Centre invites us for the dialogue, we will engage in the talks. All issues can only be solved through dialogue,” Tarigami said.
He said the PAGD has not budged from its stand seeking restoration of Article 370.
The PAGD last week held a meeting at PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti’s residence which was also attended by Farooq Abdullah. The meeting was held in view that Centre has given indications related to dialogue with major political parties of Jammu and Kashmir including National Conference and PDP.
A senior National Conference leader who wished not to be named told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS) that the PAGD has decided to seek restoration of Article 370, statehood to Jammu and Kashmir, releasing of political leaders including the separatists and talks with Pakistan to end bloodshed here. “The Centre has already started backdoor talks with leaders of several parties,” the leader said.
Leaders of several political parties were last week camping in New Delhi. Sources said these leaders sought statehood to J&K and conducting Assembly elections here.
Indication of a possible dialogue with Kashmiri leadership has come in the wake of US Congressional hearing in which Dean Thompson, Acting Assistant of State for South and Central Asia said that the US is encouraging the Indian Government to take electoral steps in Kashmir.
Similarly, the NC Working Committee has recommended that the party should participate in the delimitation commission meetings and present its viewpoint. On February 18 this year, the Delimitation Commission on Jammu & Kashmir held the first meeting. The NC MPs from Kashmir, Dr Farooq Abdullah, Hasnain Masoodi, and Akbar Lone, who are also associate members of the Commission, did not attend the meeting
The delimitation commission headed by Retired Supreme Court Judge Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai is a panel that was set up last year to redraw the electoral constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir and four northeastern states— Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. (KINS)

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