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PM’s invite to leaders for all-party meeting on June 24: Centre to unfold its roadmap on Kashmir

19/06/2021 at 8:53 PM

By Arun Joshi

Delhi has taken a giant  step  in reaching  a special out to Jammu and Kashmir to end a  standoff almost three years  that had resulted in thick walls of mistrust and triggered fears of the demographic change in the Valley.

By  late Saturday evening all the leaders of major political parties  received a call from Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla  inviting them to an all-party meeting  to be chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi  on June 24th at 3 p m.
“ I have received the call, and  we welcome it,” said Farooq Abdullah  to media persons who reached him for reaction , and about his participation ,  the PAGD president said that this would be decided collectively  bn the alliance , and whatever be the decision, will be shared  in a day or two.

Apart from Farooq Abdullah, other prominent leaders who have been invited for the talks, being held  for the first time since the  abrogation of Article 370 and division of the state of Jammu and Kashmir  into two union territories of Ladakh ,   and J&K , on August 5 2019 , PDP president  Mehbooba Mufti and  Apni Party chief Syed Altaf Bukhari are among those invited . Congress and BJP leaders , too , have been invited .

While Altaf Bukhari had been meeting PM and Home Minister Amit Shah ever since the formation of his party in March 2020 , all pother leaders would be meeting the PM for the first time as they were furious with the Centre for having  changed the status of J&K.  Altaf Bukhari is the strong votary of statehood, and for that he  had been reminding Delhi of Home Minister’s promise made  on the floor of the parliament and also arguing that J&K was a big state and it cannot live with the degraded  status of the UT. “ The statehood is our right, I have been pressing for it , and will continue to do so,” Altaf Bukhari said.

Prime Minister took this decision of calling all party meeting  for he wanted to initiate the process of dialogue leading to political process  in Jammu and Kashmir to rehabilitate  the political government  there. At the same time, he was rebuffing the criticism in some quarters at the international level about his government’s handling of the Kashmir situation . There was a sharp criticism in these quarters the way political leaders were detained , some for more than a year. These included three former Chief Ministers, Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and their successor  Mehbooba Mufti .

The things smoothened when  a PAGD meeting on June 9 said that  it is open to talks , “ Our doors are open for talks, and we have not closed any option,” Farooq Abdullah had declared , but he had said that < “ We will talk if invited.”
After a lot of back and forth back-channel talks between the Centre and the Kashmiri leaders, the invitation was formally made to them by the Centre.

The contentious issue is that whether to grant the statehood to J&K before elections that will follow the report and recommendations of the Delimitation Commission . The Commission’s work is underway.

The people in Kashmir are hopeful that something positive will come out and they have credited  PM for breaking the ice.. Kashmir streets are abuzz with optimism  as they hope that they will have a political government  once the Centre decides to hold much-awaited Assembly polls .

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