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Will press for restoration of special status of J&K during PM’s all-party meeting: Mehbooba Mufti

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Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s all-party meet, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday said peace in the region cannot be restored without undoing the “illegal” and “unconstitutional” act of revocation of the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Speaking to reporters at the end of a huddle of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), she said during the meeting with the prime minister on Thursday, she will press for the restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir which was “snatched away from us”.

“The agenda of the alliance, for which this alliance has been formed, what has been snatched away from us, we will talk on that, that it was a mistake and it was illegal and unconstitutional, without restoring which the issue of J-K (cannot be resolved) and the situation in J-K (cannot improve) and peace in the whole region cannot be restored,” she said.

Mehbooba, who was flanked by other leaders of the alliance including its chairperson Farooq Abdullah, said the Centre should hold dialogue with everyone including Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue.

“They (India) are talking to the Taliban in Doha. They should talk with everyone in Jammu and Kashmir and with Pakistan as well for the resolution (of Kashmir issue),” she said.

The PDP president said her party was never against dialogue with the Centre, but wanted some confidence-building measures for the people of Jammu and Kashmir like release of prisoners as in other parts of the country due to COVID.

She said the political prisoners and other detainees from J-K should have been released if the Centre truly wanted to reach out to the people of J-K and to the political parties who were “humiliated so much” over the last two years.

“I think they should have done so, but it does not mean that we are against the dialogue,” she said.

The PDP president, who is also the vice-chairperson of the PAGD, said she wanted Abdullah as the head of the PAGD to represent the alliance for the prime minister’s meeting, but “he (Abdullah) said as the leaders have been invited individually, so we all should go individually”.

“Whatever agenda they have, we will place our agenda before them. We hope that with our going for the meeting, at least our people who are in various prisons in and outside J-K, are released and those who cannot be released, be at least brought to J-K. Poor people have to collect money to go and meet their kin (who are in prisons outside J-K) once or twice a year,” she said.

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