New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to convene a meeting with all of Jammu and Kashmir’s mainstream political parties in Delhi on Thursday (June 24, 2021) to discuss the Union territory’s future course of action.
Four former chief ministers of the former state will also attend the meeting, namely Farooq Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Omar Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti.
The all-party meeting will be the first political engagement since the repeal of Article 370 in 2019, when the Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and divided the state into two union territories.
The talks have been invited by over fourteen leaders from regional powerhouses such as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the National Conference (NC), as well as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress. The majority of the political leaders arrived in Delhi for the meeting on Wednesday evening.
According to sources, key issues such as delimitation and assembly elections are likely to be discussed, which could pave the way for Jammu and Kashmir’s political processes. The meeting may also discuss a strategy for kicking off the political process in the Union Territory.
Previously, on August 5, 2019, the Centre revoked the erstwhile state’s special status under Article 370 and divided it into two Union Territories: J&K (with a legislative assembly) and Ladakh (without a legislative assembly).
Following the historic decision, several political leaders and activists in the region were subjected to restrictions, which were gradually lifted later on.
On the eve of the meeting, PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti stated that peace in the valley cannot be restored unless the illegal and unconstitutional act of rescinding J-special K’s status is reversed.
“The agenda of the alliance, for which this alliance has been formed, what has been snatched away from us, we will talk about that, that it was a mistake and it was illegal and unconstitutional, without restoring which the issue of J-K (cannot be resolved), the situation in J-K (cannot improve), and peace in the entire region cannot be achieved,” PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said.
Meanwhile, a day before the talks, Jammu and Kashmir Police issued an alert in the region following a series of attacks. The police issued a warning, stating that “anti-national” elements may attempt to “hit soft targets in order to create a hysteria.”