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PC terms Opposition’s silence on Article 370 as ‘endorsing’ revocation of J&K’s special status

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Srinagar: People’s Conference on Saturday said the silence of opposition parties on Article 370 — abrogated by the Centre — is like their endorsement of the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

The party’s statement came a day after a virtual meeting of the leaders of 19 opposition parties demanded the release of all political prisoners in Jammu and Kashmir, restoration of its full statehood including J&K cadre of central services and the conduct of free and fair assembly elections at the earliest.

“The meeting of 19 opposition parties by selectively parroting the demand for statehood and criminal silence on Articles 370 and 35-A has endorsed the revocation of the special status of J&K,” People’s Conference (PC) led by Sajad Gani Lone said in a statement here.

“In a statement issued after the meeting, there was no mention of repealing the decisions taken by the BJP government on August 5th 2019,” it added.

The statement said the opposition has “buried” the demand of the people of J&K of bringing back Articles 370 and 35-A and the domicile rights of the erstwhile state.

“Two senior leaders (NC president) Farooq Abdullah and (PDP president) Mehbooba Mufti attended the meeting. They failed to convince the opposition parties to put restoration of Articles 370, 35-A and domicile rights on their agenda. Why did these senior leaders attend the meeting when they could not persuade the opposition parties about the demands put forward in the Gupkar Declaration?” the PC statement asked.

The Centre had abrogated the J&K’s special status under Article 370 on August 05, 2019.

The statement said “constructive ambiguity” was a better option than “criminal unambiguity” expressed through silence of the 19 opposition parties.

“The fact of the matter is that the easiest way to restore Articles 370 and 35-A is through Parliament. The court process is time-consuming. The BJP has, in past, made it clear that they will never restore the special status of J&K. The stance taken by opposition parties after the meeting makes it clear that they will not restore J&K’s special status in Parliament,” he said in a statement.

Asserting that both the PDP and the NC have “endorsed” the stand of the opposition parties through their participation at the meeting, PC alleged that Abdullah and Mehbooba have nailed the coffin of the special status of J&K.

“It seems NC and PDP are over-enthusiastic to jump into the frame and be seen courting the national opposition. But at what cost? To find a seat on the high table, Mehbooba Mufti and Farooq Abdullah have traded off their demand for restoration of peoples’ rights and most importantly betrayed the commitments made to people of J&K.”

“If these 19 opposition parties will not support the demand of the people of J&K, then what is the fun of attending such a meeting?” the statement asked.

It said both the NC and the PDP will have to explain that if both the spectrums of Indian polity — the ruling party and the opposition parties — are against the restoration of special status then who will restore it in Parliament.

“The current ruling dispensation is not exactly known for its tolerance,” PC said, adding that Mufti-Abdullah breaks bread with an opposition group that does not have the exigencies of being in power and yet they refuse to endorse the stand of people of J&K. “If this is the stance of these parties out of power surely they will be more hardline when they are in power,” PC said.

The statement said that PC has always maintained that there is a national consensus on Article 370 between the left, right and the centrist parties.

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