SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir
Mainstream political parties in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir formed an alliance Thursday to fight for the restoration of special status for the region.
The regional parties named the alliance, People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, vowed to initiate talks between all stakeholders on the issue.
The meeting was called by former Chief Minister and President of the National Conference Party Farooq Abdullah at his residence.
Political heads of regional parties were present, including President of the People’s Democratic Party and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who was released Wednesday from a 14-month detention.
After meeting for nearly two hours, Abdullah told the media that the alliance will strive for restoration of the constitutional position.
“We shall struggle for restoration of what was snatched from Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh. Ours is a constitutional battle … we would strive for restoration of the constitution as it existed on Aug. 5, 2019,” he said.
“We want to talk to all the stakeholders on the issue.”
The Indian government unilaterally stripped the region of its limited autonomy while stationing thousands of paramilitary troopers in the region and severing communication lines.
High speed Internet is still blocked except for two districts.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, New Delhi and Islamabad have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965, and 1971 — two regarding Kashmir.
Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire took effect in 2003.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
According to several human rights groups, thousands have been killed in the conflict since 1989.
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