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Gupkar Declaration has exposed the weakness of parties in Kashmir

The political relations between the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and the local parties of Jammu and Kashmir have never been in good terms. These relations worsened after the central government abolished Article 370 and 35A on August 5, 2019 and many known leaders of J&K were detained.

This detention gave BJP a chance to make its name in Kashmir valley from where the party has never won a single seat in any elections. BJP made full use of this opportunity and increased its members in the valley. As time passed many leaders were made free from the detention. Currently, only a few leaders are under home detention which includes former Chief Minister of J&K Mehbooba Mufti. 

In August the political parties of J&K issued a statement that had given rise to tension for the Modi led central government and its intelligence agencies. On August 22, six major political parties or J&K released a statement calling the removal of special status and the bifurcation of J&K as an unconstitutional move. They named the statement as Gupkar Declaration. The leaders of the six political parties signed the declaration to stand against the decision of the central government of abrogation of article. 

What is Gupkar Declaration 2.0? 

The Gupkar Declaration 2.0 was signed by 6 major parties of J&k which include the National Conference (NC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the J&K Peoples Conference (PC), the Communist Party of India Marxist (CPIM), the Indian National Congress and the Awami National Conference (ANC). According to the statement, the 6 parties are committed to strive for the restoration of Article 370 and 35A and the restoration of the state.

All the parties unanimously repeat that there can be nothing without the people of J&K which simply means that the centre has to take the people of J&K in confidence before making any changes in the constitution.  The statement further adds that the decision taken by the central government was “grossly unconstitutional” and in reality, the decision was a measure for disempowerment and to challenge the basic identity of the people of J&K. The political parties jointly stated and assured the people of J&K that the political activities that existed before 5 August 2019 will be restored. 

The first Gupkar Declaration was signed on August 4, 2019 before the abrogation of Article 370. The representatives of NC, PDP, PC, CPI(M), PUF, PM, and ANC met at the former chief minister Farooq Abdullah’s residence situated at Gupkar to discuss the tensed situation that was raised due to the massive deployment of security forces and forces removal of tourist from the Kashmir valley.

Former Chief Minister of J&K Omar Abdullah stated that he will raise the Gupkar Declaration in Parliament and the struggle for this declaration will be totally non-violent as they don’t believe in stones and bullets. It took a year for these parties to say that they are against the Centre’s decision. 

The statement was issued so suddenly that it had surprised everyone. The representatives were so much afraid of the detention and that is why they kept the meeting so secretive that the Central Government didn’t get any information about what was going to come. The detention of these leaders has brought them together to stand against the center’s decision.

Giving an immediate reply to the Gupkar declaration 2.0 the Chief Secretary of J&K had said that not even a single soul cried over the detention of political leaders. He had further said that the end of detention doesn’t mean that the central government has ended their campaign of ending the ill-activities done by the political leaders of J&K. 

It is for the first time in the history of J&K that the leaders of various political parties who have different ideologies have stood together against government. Many people are confused that the parties are together to make an alliance for the elections. The declaration has put the 6 parties in a clash with the BJP. The National Conference has already been opposed by the people of the party and people of J&K. The Gupkar Declaration has not only received criticism from BJP and its representatives but also from Ghulam Nabi Fai who runs the separatist ecosystems from Srinagar to America. 

The Gupkar Declaration has given an opportunity to the central government to make things right in Kashmir. The central government has to think about whether to shift the interest to an electron region which sends a few representatives to the Parliament or to address the national security conundrum. Till now BJP has not come up with an appropriate argument against the declaration. Only BJP’s former General Secretary Ram Madhav has responded to the declaration. Another BJP leader termed the declaration as Anti-national, misleading, and dishonest.

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