For the first time after abrogating Article 370, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a bid to end the political impasse, is expected to chair an all-party meeting on 24 June with the leaders of the mainstream parties of Jammu and Kashmir.
The move is being seen as an olive branch to the alienated Kashmiri leaders most of whom were put under detention for more than a year after J&K’s special status was scrapped and the state split into two union territories on 5 August 2019.
Reacting to media reports about the meeting, National Conference (NC) chief Dr Farooq Abdullah told The Statesman over the phone from Srinagar on Saturday that he has yet to receive a formal invitation from New Delhi and once we get it then we will first sit down with other constituents of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) to discuss the strategy.
Abdullah is the President of the PAGD and had said in its recent meeting that he was open to talks with the centre on the Kashmir issue.
PDP chief and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that she would first discuss the issue within her party. CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said that he would be in a position to react only if he gets the invitation.
It is yet to be seen which parties and leaders of Jammu are invited for the PM’s meeting. The Jammu region has different grievances than that of Kashmir.
The development came a day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday reviewed the situation and development programmes in a high-level meeting. Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Home secretary Ajay Bhalla, IB Chief Arvind Kumar, J&K DGP Dilbag Singh and top officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs, IB and CRPF participated in the meeting that came days before the second anniversary of abrogation of the Article 370 and 35A.
There were speculations that restoration of statehood to J&K or holding assembly elections under the fresh delimitation might be on the agenda of the PM’s talks.
It is exactly three years today that Jammu and Kashmir has been without an elected government after Mehbooba Mufti as chief minister lost power on 19 June 2018 when the BJP withdrew support to her.
The central leadership, including Modi and Shah during this period, a couple of times met Altaf Bukhari who established J&K Apni Party after splitting from the PDP.