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Unhappy politicians of Kashmir and a toothless alliance that will fall apart

On the day of August 5, 2019 the Central government of India announced to revoke the special status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate it into two Union Territories. Since then, majority of the people and politicians of the former state have been largely unhappy by the decision.

They alleged that in an order to suppress the voices of dissent, the Central government imposed lockdown, stopped mobile data services and put the major political figures under the house arrest. 

However, this could not stop them from demanding the status quo ante. Upon release, leaders of the major political parties in Kashmir announced the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration on October 15. The aim of this alliance is to “return to the people of the state the rights they held before August 5, 2019”. It was made clear by the National Conference provincial spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar that the alliance’s main task is to fight for the restoration of Articles 35A and 370. 

The novel alliance is named after an area called Gupkar, in Srinagar. The leaders of the Jammu and Kashmir got a wind of what’s going to unfurl so they decided to meet on 4th August of 2019 in Gupkar. One day later, they were all brought to house arrest. On August 22 this year, six political parties again met in Gupkar, in Farooq Abdullah’s house, to reiterate their commitment to restore the Special Status of the Jammu and Kashmir. The joint statement affirming the cause was released by People’s Democratic Party, National Conference, People’s Conference, Awami National Conference, Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

The alliance was formally announced on October 15 after the release of Mehbooba Mufti, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and the face of the People’s Democratic Party. Other than the regional players, the only national party to join the alliance is the CPI(M) as the Congress decided to stay away even when the party was invited.

Speaking on the occasion, National Conference leader and former Chief Minister of the state Farooq Abdullah told the press, “Our battle is a constitutional battle. We shall struggle for restoration of what was snatched from Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh”. But as the alliance was announced, suspicions were raised about its functioning as it brings united the arch rivals of the valley.

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