Occupied Kashmir's leaders to urge India's Modi to restore region's autonomy

Published June 21, 2021
An Indian Paramilitary soldier patrols during curfew in Srinagar. — AP/File
An Indian Paramilitary soldier patrols during curfew in Srinagar. — AP/File

Kashmiri politicians will urge Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to restore occupied Jammu and Kashmir's autonomy when they meet him on Thursday for the first talks since he took away the region's special status two years ago, party officials said.

New Delhi has struggled for decades to dampen secessionist sentiments in what had been its only Muslim majority state, blaming Pakistan for supporting insurgencies in the Himalayan region, which Islamabad denies.

Reasserting New Delhi's control in August 2019, Modi abolished Article 370 of the Constitution, ending the region's autonomy and removing its statehood by splitting it into the federal territories of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and Buddhist-dominated Ladakh.

Read: Modi committed 'strategic blunder' by revoking occupied Kashmir's status, says PM Imran

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 [Indian] prime minister,” the official said. All three officials declined to be named because the discussions were private.

Representatives of the PDP and National Conference will meet on Tuesday along with other members of an alliance formed last year to seek a peaceful restoration of occupied Kashmir's autonomy, to prepare for their talks with the prime minister, PDP spokesman Suhail Bukhari said.

The 2019 decision to withdraw occupied Kashmir's autonomy drew a sharp reaction from Pakistan, leading to downgrading of diplomatic ties and suspension of trade.

But the nuclear-armed neighbours have held secret talks this year in an effort to reduce tensions, and agreed to observe a ceasefire along the disputed border in Kashmir.

Opinion

Editorial

Noshki killings
Updated 14 Apr, 2024

Noshki killings

It must be asked why Baloch separatists continue to target civilians as well as security men despite large deployment.
Upholding the law
14 Apr, 2024

Upholding the law

THE recent discord in Bahawalnagar offers a chance to reflect on the sanctity of the law and its enforcement across...
Tragic travels
14 Apr, 2024

Tragic travels

FOR those embarking on road and boat journeys, the probability of fatal accidents has seen a steady rise. The recent...
Security lapses
Updated 13 Apr, 2024

Security lapses

Ensuring the safety of foreign citizens is paramount, not just for diplomatic relations but for our economic future.
An eventful season
13 Apr, 2024

An eventful season

THE Senate chairman and deputy chairman were elected unopposed, and 41 new senators were sworn in on Tuesday,...
Living rough
13 Apr, 2024

Living rough

WE either don’t see them or don’t want to see them — not even when they are actively trying to get our...