Srinagar, October 24: Former Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah, who is also the senior-most mainstream politician in the Valley, would be heading the 'People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration'. The coalition of regional parties, also backed by the CPI and CPI(M), will strive for the restoration of Article 370 -- the now-struck down law which provided special status to J&K. Farooq Abdullah, Under ED Scanner, Says Fight Is to Restore Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir 'Even If I'm Hanged'.
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"It's not an anti-national Jamat, our aim is to ensure that the rights of people of J&K and Ladakh are restored. Attempts of dividing us in the name of religion will fail. It's not a religious fight," said the 83-year-old Abdullah, who was detained for six months after abrogation of Article 370 and slapped with the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).
The People's Alliance has emerged as an amalgamation of National Conference, PDP, Awami National Conference, People's Conference and J&K units of CPI and CPI(M). The coalition will constitutionally fight for the restoration of political status quo in Jammu & Kashmir as of August 4, 2019.
While Abdullah was named as president of the People's Alliance, Mehbooba Mufti, the head of PDP, was announced as the deputy chief. People's Conference leader Sajad Lone will serve as the chief spokesperson, and Mohammed Tarigami of CPI(M) has been appointed as the convenor.
Lone, who was once considered a tacit ally of the BJP in the Valley, apparently accused the Centre-ruling regime of tarnishing the image of J&K. He claimed that a propaganda has been unleashed across India to portray that the Valley was in dark ages before abrogation of Article 370. A white-paper would be prepared and released next month to "debunk the propaganda", he claimed.
"A document will be prepared within a month via which we'll present facts behind the lies that are being propagated. It'll be a tribute to people of J&K who are being slandered," Lone said.
Article 370, which guaranteed semi-autonomous status to J&K, was repealed via an executive order issued by the Centre on August 5 last year. On the same day, most political leaders in the Valley including Abdullah, Mufti, Lone and others were detained. While most of them were released earlier this year, Mufti was the last to be freed in October -- nearly 14 months after being taken into custody.
A day before the law was abrogated, a meeting of most mainstream parties in J&K was convened at Abdullah's residence at Gupkar Road in Srinagar. A unanimous resolution was adopted, which came to be known as Gupkar Declaration, to prevent any amendment to Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The formation of People's Alliance, after 14 months, is in continuation of the adoption of same declaration.