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PAGD reaches out to people of Jammu, Ladakh for restoring J&K’s special status

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Jammu: Reaching out to the people of Jammu and Ladakh to join hands with them, senior CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami on Monday said Kashmir-based People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) is not a monopoly of a selected few but a struggle to restore the rights of the citizens of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Tarigami, who is also convener and spokesperson of the PAGD – a coalition of six parties including National Conference, PDP and CPI(M) seeking restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status – called for a dialogue among the people to pull out the region from the “crisis situation” in the aftermath of August 05, 2019 development with the abrogation of Article 370.

“Leave the past behind and let us have a dialogue to move forward together. Why cannot the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh come together and listen to each other? We request all sections of society to come together and play their role to pull out the erstwhile state from the crisis situation,” the CPI(M) leader and former legislator told reporters here.

Claiming that there is no roadmap for Jammu and Kashmir with the present dispensation, he said the people need to prepare a roadmap which is only possible through “credible dialogue” among them.

Lauding the people of Leh and Kargil for coming together to safeguard their interests and compelling the government for dialogue, he said Ladakh should serve as a role model for the people of Jammu and Kashmir as Kargil has filed a writ petition for restoration of Article 370 and 35-A, whereas Leh was always in favour of Union Territory status but stood up for safeguarding their land and jobs.

“Kashmir cannot march ahead without Jammu and Jammu cannot ignore Kashmir. We both, including Ladakh, have to move together because we are linked by history and common interest. We must identify the areas where we can agree as we have every right to disagree as well. While disagreements are there, there can be possibilities of agreements as well,” he said.

Tarigami said, “We must explore the possibilities where some sort of commonality is there which can be a binding force for all of us and move together so that some relief is provided to the people of J&K.”

In response to a question about differences within the constituents of PAGD, he said the parties that are part of the alliance have not merged with each other and therefore each party has every right to different views on certain issues.

“There is some commonality which binds us together….I have come here to Jammu to request civil society and political activists that we can carve out some sort of plan where we can have a united approach and united voice,” he said.

As far as PAGD is concerned, he said there is a strong feeling among the members of the alliance that there would be no forward movement without representation from Jammu, involvement of Jammu people and credible dialogue with cross sections of Jammu civil society.

“We have to move together and this is our article of faith,” he said, adding “our struggle is for every region, community and in my opinion all the people have to come together and adopt a joint strategy to get back our rights.”

He said the PAGD leadership did not favour a straitjacket approach and every view will be respected.

“PAGD is not a monopoly of a few parties. It is our struggle for our snatched rights. They have downgraded the Dogra state without even taking the stakeholders from Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh into confidence. It is not acceptable to us,” he said.

Tarigami said while many parties have filed writ petitions in the supreme court against the revocation of Article 370 and reorganisation of J&K by the central government, CPI(M) has also filed an additional petition for protection of land rights introduced in the erstwhile state by the last Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh on the initiative of Kashmiri Pandits.

Terming the year-long farmers’ struggle for revocation of three contentious agricultural laws as “historic”, he said “their successful struggle is an encouraging development for all of us and a big lesson for the country.”

“They showed determination, unity and withheld their ground despite provocations, restrictions, oppression and weather challenges and took their struggle to the logical conclusion,” he said, adding they were also agitated like the people of Jammu and Kashmir for not being taken into confidence before introducing the farm laws.

Questioning the chronological order chalked out by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah for restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir, Tarigami said, “He (Shah) is not giving any concession to us. Our historic state was downgraded without any valid reason and divided (into two UTs).”

He demanded early restoration of statehood followed by assembly elections.

“If Ladakh wants to live separately, there is no harm. We can talk to them and try to understand their aspirations,” he said.

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