Politicians meet LG, new party on cards
With a new political party on the cards, at least eight mainstream politicians Tuesday met Lieutenant Governor (LG) Girish Chandra Murmu “to solicit his attention toward the socio-political and economic situation” that emerged in the Valley since August 5 last year.
The meeting with the LG comes at a time when majority of the mainstream politicians from various parties are under detention for the past five months.
Among the politicians who met LG include former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ministers Altaf Bukhari and Dilawar Mir, former PDP MLAs Javed Baig, Noor Muhammad Shiekh, Choudhary Qamar Hussain, Raja Manzoor Ahmad, former PDP MLC Zaffar Iqbal and PDP Nationalist (DPN) President Ghulam Hassan Mir.
The delegation led by Bukhari submitted a 15-pointer memorandum to LG that include restoration of statehood to Jammu Kashmir, safeguarding rights over land and jobs, release of detainees, withdrawing cases against youth, restoration of internet and revival of developmental activities in the erstwhile state.
“We take this opportunity to solicit your attention toward the socio-political and economic situation that emerged since August 5, 2019… since the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status embedded in Article 370 of the Indian constitution and bifurcation of the State into two Union Territories – Jammu Kashmir with legislature and Ladakh without one – the majority of its residents are yet to reconcile with this decision,” the memorandum reads.
The memorandum reads that to win over the confidence of the people of Jammu Kashmiri, Government of India would have to re-examine its decades old policies vis-à-vis Kashmir.
Depending solely on “security measures and dealing with peoples’ political aspirations through the law and order prism” will always have its old tested repercussions, it reads.
“We are of firm belief that the economic development can only happen if there is normalcy and stability in the region,” the memorandum said.
The memorandum said it was not because of Article 370 that normalcy and stability was affected but it was the assurances given under that article and the erosion of special privileges that created the situation in the Valley over the past three decades.
“No development is possible unless these apprehensions among the people are allayed in a just and humane manner,” it said.
Meanwhile, sources told RK that the meeting of the politicians with the LG was the first move toward the formation of a new political front in Jammu Kashmir.
“All the politicians who met today with LG are in talks to form a new political party,” the sources said.
They said apart from the eight politicians who met LG today, many more prominent politicians were also likely to join hands in the formation of new political front in Jammu Kashmir.
Sources said some of the names for the party had been already suggested and soon a name would be finalized.
“The purpose of the party is to provide an alternative to the people of Kashmir. People of Kashmir have been fooled enough in the name of autonomy, and self rule over the years,” they said. “The new party will be led by Altaf Bukhari.”
DPN President Ghulam Hassan Mir said the decision of the formation of new political party could only be decided once the political activities would resume in Jammu Kashmir.
“First and foremost, the authorities should release all detained politicians, then we can talk about the new political party,” Mir said.
He said the purpose of meeting with the LG was to apprise him about the current political situation in Jammu Kashmir.
“Since we were free, it was an opportunity to highlight the grievances of the people. How long can we remain quiet? Somebody needs to come forward and raise the issues,” Mir said.
Meanwhile, according to an official statement, LG while interacting with the members of the delegation conveyed to them that the government was committed to safeguard the rights of the people of J&K and particularly assured them that the provisions would be made for protecting the land of the locals and employment avenues in the union territory of Jammu Kashmir.
He also assured the delegation that the administration at all levels would be sensitized to hear grievances, coordinate with popular leaders, solve issues and carry out developmental activities in right earnest.
The other demands that the delegation highlighted in the memorandum include restoration of J&K Bank’s functional domain, reviving agriculture and horticulture sectors, strengthening national highway and regional connectivity within J&K and putting a cap on airfares, relief for general trade including shopkeepers, bus owners, taxi owners and credit expansion through J&K SLBC.
The delegation also sought the government’s support for promoting Industry and Manufacturing Sector, Tourism and allied industries and their revival besides addressing the issue of unemployment.