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Highlights of PM Modi's Meeting with Jammu and Kashmir Leaders

By: Mahak Arora
25 Jun 2021 9:40:12 PM CSMC, Chitkara University, Punjab

For the first time, nearly two years after the abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with 14 leaders of eight political parties of Jammu and Kashmir, on Thursday, to discuss the prevailing situation in the region and chart the future course of action with members from the Gupkar Alliance.

 

The meeting, which lasted for about three and a half hours, took place at the PM's residence in Delhi. Former Chief Ministers Ghulam Nabi Azad, Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah were some of the prominent faces in the house. Apart from them, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and many other senior officials of the Center were also present at the conference.

 

The Farooq Abdullah-led National Conference (NC) demanded the restoration of statehood and said they told Modi that the decisions taken in August 2019 were not in the interest of the people and should be reversed. They sought the restoration of the J&K cadre of the all-India services, which was merged with the Union Territories cadre. He added the Centre refused to discuss the restoration of special status claiming it was a “sub-judicial matter.”

 

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti brought up the matter of dialogue with Pakistan to lessen cross-border violence.  “If India can talk to the Taliban in Doha (Qatar), why not Pakistan,” she said in reference to the ongoing dialogue between Indian diplomats and the Taliban who are regaining power in Afghanistan following the pullout of the American military last year.

 

The Prime Minister, according to NDTV’s sources, “patiently heard suggestions and inputs from all participants” and expressed “happiness” that all participants shared their frank and honest views. “It was an open discussion which revolved around building a better future for Kashmir,” the source told the channel.

 

Many of the leaders who attended Friday’s meeting had been detained as part of security measures to prevent any protests over the sweeping changes that came with the abrogation of Article 370. The Centre also decided that J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha would set up a committee to review cases of political prisoners, those released as well as those in detention.

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