Resuming political participation in the UT of J&K should be largely received as a positive step. Following the state’s division and demotion from full statehood to Union territory status, as well as the revocation of Article 370, the state was placed under President’s authority. Now moving towards complete democracy, as in the rest of the country, is critical — and integration with the Indian mainstream is the way forward…….
This is indeed the first of its kind, and a welcome outreach initiative from the Centre since August 5, 2019— the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the region into two Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. India’s Prime Minister has called a meeting of Jammu and Kashmir leaders in New Delhi to strengthen political process in the Union Territory.
The Centre has invited mainstream politicians of Jammu and Kashmir for a meeting in Delhi. The meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Centre has invited 14 leaders of mainstream political parties for Thursday’s meeting. These included four former chief ministers – NC leaders Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, and senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Apart from these leaders, Congress’ Tara Chand and GA Mir; J-K Apni Party’s Altaf Bukhari; BJP’s Ravinder Raina, Nirmal Singh and Kavinder Gupta; CPI(M)’s Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami; National Panthers Party’s Prof Bheem Singh; and Peoples Conference’s Sajad Gani Lone were also invited to the meeting.
Though official agenda was set for the meeting, leaders from Jammu and Kashmir have indicated that they will press for restoration of Article 370 and full statehood. Besides, discussions on delimitation and assembly elections are also expected to take place at today’s all-party meeting.
Though people and the politicians in the Valley remain bitterly opposed to J&K’s bifurcation and revocation of Article 370, the peace narrative shall remain unchanged, and that is, the all-party meeting now popularly known as the “Kashmir Dialogue” signals the restarting of political engagement between mainstream Kashmiri parties and the Centre.
The all-party meeting, though first between the leaders from Jammu and Kashmir and the Centre since the August 2019 developments, initially drew lukewarm reactions in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley. But increasingly, there is a growing restoration of the faith in the democracy process and political engagement. People must move beyond the run of the mill narratives bred by vested foreign interests of the separatists and their sponsors.
Dargah Ajmer Sharif Diwan Syed Zainul Abedin Ali Khan has rightly suggested in his comment on the all-party meet on J&K:
“All the politicians of Kashmir are requested to take any decision keeping in view the prosperity and development of the people of Kashmir and the whole country…….I expect all the Kashmiri political leaders to set aside the issue of Article 370 as it is subjudice now and work in coherence with the Government of India for the speedy implementation of the development schemes programmes exclusively crafted for J&K”