PM Modi meets J&K leaders. What happened so far?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today met with top political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir to hold discussions. The meet began around 3:30 pm at the PM's official residence in New Delhi and also marked the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah. It is the first such meeting since the abrogation of Article 370 in J&K in 2019.
Centre invited 14 leaders from J&K
The central government had last week invited 14 leaders of eight parties for the all-party meet. They included former Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar, and the Congress party's Ghulam Nabi Azad. J&K Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha was also present at the meet. The Centre has not specified any agenda for the meeting as yet.
Here are the pictures from the meeting
J&K leaders say would raise issue of statehood, special status
J&K leaders have stated they would raise the issue of full statehood and the restoration of special status in the erstwhile state. "Our rights...have been snatched from us. We will demand the Centre and PM Modi to reconsider and restore those rights which have been guaranteed by the Constituent Assembly of India," said Yousuf Tarigami, a leader of the CPI(M).
Talks could include delimitation, restoration of statehood
There is speculation that today's meeting could include discussions on delimitation or the redrawing of Assembly constituencies ahead of polls in J&K. J&K, a former Indian state, lost its autonomous status after the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 in 2019. It was then bifurcated into Union Territories - Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, though the Centre has promised statehood for the former.
Meanwhile, people in Jammu protest against Mufti's statement
Meanwhile, the Dogra Front today held a protest against Peoples Democratic Party chief Mufti in Jammu. "This protest is against Mufti's statement which she gave after Gupkar meeting that Pakistan is a stakeholder in the Kashmir issue. She should be put behind bars," protesters said, according to ANI. Mufti had earlier this week said Centre should also include Pakistan in talks related to Kashmir.
Article 370 was abrogated in August, 2019
Provisions of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which granted a special status to J&K, were struck down on August 5, 2019. Political leaders, including Abdullah and Mufti, were then put under house arrest and 4G internet services were snapped for months. In 2020, several J&K leaders formed the Gupkar alliance, with the aim to restore Article 370 in the erstwhile state.