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Holding polls, delimitation important milestones in restoring J&K’s statehood: Shah

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Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday said the government is committed to ensuring all-round development of Jammu and Kashmir.

 

The home minister’s comments came after a three-and-half-hour-long meeting held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with 14 political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir, including four former chief ministers.

 

We are committed to ensure all round development of J&K. The future of Jammu and Kashmir was discussed and the delimitation exercise and peaceful elections are important milestones in restoring statehood as promised in Parliament,” Shah said in a tweet.

 

He said Thursday’s meeting on Jammu and Kashmir was held in a very cordial environment. “Everyone expressed their commitment to democracy and the Constitution. It was stressed to strengthen the democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir,” Shah said in another tweet.

 

The four former chief ministers of the erstwhile state who participated in the discussions were Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah of the National Conference, Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti.

 

This is the first interaction between the central leadership and mainstream parties since August 5, 2019, when the Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 and bifurcated it into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

 

Farooq Abdullah dismissed suggestions that the June 24 meeting with the Prime Minister signalled the end of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD). He further said that, he would hold discussions with his party leaders and PAGD constituents before making any further statement on the meeting.

 

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, while talking about the all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with J&K leaders on Thursday, said she told PM that the people of J&K don’t accept the manner in which Article 370 was abrogated. Mufti termed the manner of abrogation as “unconstitutional, illegal and immoral”. She added that people of J&K are “emotionally shattered”.

 

Omar, meanwhile, told reporters it was made clear to the Centre during the PM’s meeting that the statehood should be restored to Jammu and Kashmir before holding of Assembly elections.

 

“(Ghulam Nabi) Azad sahib spoke on behalf of all of us that we do not accept this timeline. We do not accept delimitation, election, statehood. We want delimitation, statehood and then election. If you want to hold polls, you will have to restore statehood first,” he told reporters soon after returning from Delhi.

 

On the process of delimitation, he said the National Conference had authorised its president Farooq Abdullah to take a view as and when the party is approached by the delimitation commission again.

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