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PM Modi Meets 14 Jammu & Kashmir Leaders; Assures Statehood At The ‘Right Time’

“The main focus of the meeting was to strengthen the democratic process. PM said that we are fully committed to the democratic process in J&K. He stressed that the holding assembly elections just like the successful conduct of District Development Council elections is a priority,” government sources said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday conducted a three-hour-long marathon meeting with 14 mainstream political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir, including four former chief ministers and assured them statehood at the ‘right time’.

“We have placed five demands before the government including holding early elections and restoring statehood to the state,” said veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. He added that most J&K leaders said a decision on Article 370 should be left to the Supreme Court.

Former J&K CM Farooq Abdullah led the 7 party Gupkar Alliance to the PM’s meet.

The four former chief ministers of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir who participated in the discussions were Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah of the National Conference, Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti. Four former deputy chief ministers were in attendance too – Congress’ Tara Chand, People’s Conference leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig, and BJP’s Nirmal Singh and Kavinder Gupta.

After the meeting, where the demand for J&K’s statehood was raised by many, Union Minister Amit Shah said delimitation exercise and peaceful elections are important milestones in restoring the same. “We are committed to ensure all round development of J&K… the delimitation exercise and peaceful elections are important milestones in restoring statehood as promised in parliament,” Shah tweeted.

“The main focus of the meeting was to strengthen the democratic process. PM said that we are fully committed to the democratic process in J&K. He stressed that the holding assembly elections just like the successful conduct of District Development Council elections is a priority,” government sources said.

Notably, this was the Union Government first major outreach since August 2019 towards political leaders who have been severely critical of the abrogation of Article 370. Many of the leaders attending the meeting had been detained as part of security measures to prevent any protests over the sweeping changes.

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At the meeting, it was also decided that the Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha would set up a committee to review cases of political prisoners, be it those released – like the Abdullahs and Ms Mufti – and those still in detention, NDTV reported

 

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