Monday, 27 September 2021

Kashmiri politicians to press Modi to restore region’s autonomy

(L-R) Muzaffar Shah, leader of Awami National Conference, Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, leader of Communist Party of India (Marxist), Mehbooba Mufti, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and President of Peoples Democratic Party, Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah, both leaders of National Conference and former state chief ministers, address the media after their meeting in Srinagar, REUTERS/Danish Ismail/File

NEW DELHI – Kashmiri politicians will urge Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to restore Indian Controlled Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy when they meet him on Thursday for the first talks since he revoked the region’s special status two years ago, party officials told Reuters.

Reasserting New Delhi s control in August 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi abolished Article 370 of the Constitution, ending the region s autonomy and removing its statehood by splitting it into the federal territories of IIOJK and Ladakh.

Some of the politicians set to meet Modi on Thursday were among the thousands of people detained back then to forestall a backlash against the shock move. The government also imposed months-long communications restrictions in the highly-sensitive Kashmir valley to stifle opposition.

“Our agenda is restoration of pre-August 5, 2019 status of Jammu and Kashmir,” People s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti told her colleagues on Sunday, according to two officials who attended the online meeting.

Senior leaders of the National Conference also met over the weekend and backed a decision to push for the restoration of statehood and special status, a party official said.

“We will press for these two demands during the meeting with the prime minister,” the official said. All three officials declined to be named because the discussions were private.

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