SRINAGAR, Sept 4: Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari said Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha promised a party delegation on Sunday to take up its statehood restoration demand with Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week.
The Apni Party delegation called on the lieutenant governor at the Raj Bhavan here and raised issues such as the restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood and the cancellation of recruitment tests.
“We are happy that the LG promised he will take up the issue (statehood restoration) with the prime minister and the (Union) home minister this week itself. He said the government has promised it on the floor of Parliament,” Bukhari told reporters outside the Raj Bhavan.
“The restoration of statehood is a very serious matter and it is a priority for our party…. if the people support us, the Apni Party will get back the identity that was taken away from us,” he said.
Bukhari said Sinha also promised the delegation that the recruitment exams will be conducted in two months and it will be held first for those whose selection process was cancelled so that they do not suffer more injustice. He also assured that it would be held transparently.
He said the LG assured that the issue of the preventive detention of youths would be considered on a case-to-case basis.
“Overall, the LG was positive and, in a positive mood, told us that these issues concern the people and will be addressed in a time-bound manner,” the Apni Party chief said.
Asked about the Jammu and Kashmir chief electoral officer inviting political parties for a meeting over special summary revision of electoral rolls, Bukhari said it is part of normal process and the party’s representatives will participate in it.
“But I have been saying that Delhi thinks (conducting) elections is a favour to J-K. This is our right, we are in a democratic country, our grassroots democracy has not been restored for four years now and so, the elections should be held,” he said.
Asked if he chose the day for the meeting as the Congress party was organising its rally against price rise and Ghulam Nabi Azad also holding a rally in Jammu, Bukhari said there is no connection and the party got the date for the meeting from the Raj Bhavan.
“We started our public outreach from Kupwara last month. Many new parties will come up. You will see 15-20 new parties here. They will continue to come,” he said, referring to the formation of a political party by Azad.
“It is his (Azad’s) party, and for him to decide what he does with it. We do not even know yet whether there is a party or not,” he added.
Earlier, the party delegation submitted a memorandum to the LG, “with this hope that the government will take steps to address these issues in the interest of the general public and for achieving an overall conducive atmosphere”.
The resolution said the Apni Party, since its formation, has been responsible for voicing the political aspirations of the people of J-K and therefore, it is imperative to bring in notice of these issues to the government for their early redressal in the interest of the general public.
“We demand the restoration of statehood before Assembly elections are held. The necessity to demand the restoration of statehood is to exude a sense of confidence among the people of J-K.
“For administrative empowerment, good governance, better devolution of powers in a federal structure and to address the lost sense of dignity and honour, restoration of statehood will play an important role,” the memorandum read.
It said the prime minister and the Union Home minister have committed to restoring statehood at an appropriate time.
“Apni Party reiterates that this is an appropriate time to win the confidence of the people and to address the alienation among the youth of J-K by restoring the statehood at the earliest,” the party said.
In August 2019, the central government abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution, which accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcated the state into Union territories.
On the release of detained youths, the party memorandum said that for the Independence Day, smooth conduct of Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra and overall tourist season, preventive detention of the youths had taken place in many districts.
“It has been a long time since such youths have been in preventive custody. The parents of these youths and the respective local communities have a genuine demand for their release.
“We strongly believe that integrating the youth of J-K into the mainstream and providing them with a credible and viable platform, will allow them to contribute to the best in nation-building. Therefore, it is imperative that such youth languishing in custody be released without any further delay,” the party stated. (PTI)