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Behind joint statement by J&K parties: 2 weeks of phone calls, many leaders kept out of loop

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, who is in detention at her residence under the Public Safety Act (PSA), was kept informed about the deliberations over the phone.

Written by Bashaarat Masood | Srinagar |
Updated: August 26, 2020 5:26:25 am
The Gupkar signatories last met on August 4, 2019 a day before J&K's special status was scrapped. (File)

The joint declaration by mainstream political parties that reiterated their commitment to fight for the restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was an outcome of two weeks of deliberations over the telephone and a meeting running into several hours between National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, People’s Conference chairman Sajad Lone and CPM leader M Y Tarigami.

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, who is in detention at her residence under the Public Safety Act (PSA), was kept informed about the deliberations over the phone.

Fearing a “sabotage” by the administration, sources said, the deliberations were kept so “secret” that many senior leaders of the political parties were kept out of the loop.

The process, sources said, started immediately after the administration foiled an all-party meeting convened by Abdullah at his residence.

“He (Abdullah) personally called up several top leaders from other parties to discuss what happened over the last one year,” a source told The Indian Express. “These conversations over the telephone lasted for almost two weeks.”

The resolution was finally drafted on August 20, two days before it was officially released, sources said.

A source said that on August 20, Abdullah drove to the Srinagar residence of Hasnain Masoodi, the National Conference MP from Anantnag. Sajad Lone and Tarigami also reached there and the four leaders discussed the situation “over the next several hours”.

The resolution that promised to stick to the ‘Gupkar Declaration’ — a unanimous resolution that vowed to “defend identity, autonomy and special status of Jammu and Kashmir” was passed by the mainstream parties after a meeting at Abdullah’s Gupkar Road residence on August 4 — was drafted by Sajad Lone.

“It was during that meeting that Sajad sahib took pen and paper and drafted the resolution,” a source said. “Masoodi sahib also made some additions to the draft…”

Sources said that while Farooq Abdullah had taken the initiative, Sajad played an important role in shaping the resolution. “His role was very important. It was very difficult for him to stand up against the government, especially as he is seen as a one-time ally of the BJP,” a source said.

From Masoodi’s residence, a call was made to PDP chief Mufti and she was informed about the resolution. “They told her (Mufti) that it was your initiative and we are now taking it to the next level,” said the source, adding that Abdullah “also spoke to the state Congress chief”.

The participants of the meeting also decided to chalk out a mechanism for future coordination between the mainstream parties, sources said.

“The participants asked Farooq sahib to stay firm because the unity depends on him,” the source said, adding that the NC president told them that he has no “personal or party goals”.

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