In a hard hitting joint statement on Saturday, leaders of the opposition parties who were signatory to the Gupkar Declaration issued last year on 4 August a day before their detention and abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, said that “the unfortunate events of 5th August 2019 have unrecognizably changed the relationship between J&K and New Delhi” and said they will strive for restoration of Articles 370 and 35A.

They described the series of measures undertaken by the Modi government on 5 August 2019 as “grossly unconstitutional and in reality measures of disempowerment and a challenge to the basic identity of the people of J&K”.

“In a spitefully shortsighted and unconstitutional move, Articles 370 and 35A were abrogated and the State was bifurcated and relegated to the status of two Union Territories and its Constitution tried to be made unenforceable”.
“The measures attempt to redefine who we are. These changes were accompanied by repressive measures meant to silence people and coerce them into submission, and continue unabated”.

The joint statement reiterating their commitment to the contents of the Gupkar Declaration that was signed at the residence of the National Conference (NC) chief Farooq Abdullah has been issued more than a year after and following Abdullah’s meeting with senior leaders of the NC during the past two days. Dr. Farooq Abdullah, JKNC, Mehbooba Mufti, JKPDP, GA Mir, JKPCC, M Y Tarigami, CPI (M), Muzaffar Shah, JKANC and Sajad Gani Lone, JKPC are signatories to the joint statement.

Signatures of bureaucrat turned politician, Shah Faesal of PUF, are conspicuously missing in Saturday’s joint statement amidst speculations of his returning to the administration.

Reacting to the joint statement on behalf of Mehbooba Mufti, who is under detention at her home, her daughter tweeted; “Ms Mufti appreciates the statesmanship shown by Dr Farooq Sahab in forging a collective response to Delhi’s onslaught on J&Ks special status. Its time we forego political differences & stand together”.

Sajad Lone, Peoples Conference leader, tweeted; “A very satisfying day. We firmly believe that a collective mechanism is the only way out. It is no longer about power. It is about a struggle to get back what rightfully belongs to us. Thanks Dr Farooq Sahib, Mehbooba ji and Tarigami sahib”.

The joint resolution said that the signatories to last year’s GUPKAR DECLARATION have barely managed to establish a basic level of communication with each other in the face of a series of prohibitive and punitive curbs imposed by the government, aimed at impeding all social and political interactions. The limited confabulations held within the constraints imposed have resulted in this unanimous resolution.

“These are testing times and times of pain for the peace loving people of J&K. We all reiterate our commitment to collectively fight to restore the Special Status of J&K as guaranteed under the Constitution and the commitments made from time to time. There is unanimity amongst us that collective institution is the effective way to fight for these rights and tirelessly struggle to get back the special status and restore the Constitutional guarantees forcibly taken away, against our will. We want to assure the people that all our political activities will be subservient to the sacred goal of reverting to the status of J&K as it existed on 4th August 2019”.

“We exhort leadership of the subcontinent to take due notice of the ever increasing skirmishes at the LAC and LOC resulting in casualties on both sides and unabated violent incidents in J&K and work for enduring peace in the region”, the joint statement read.