Won’t settle for statehood, want restoration of Article 370: Mehbooba Mufti | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Won’t settle for statehood, want restoration of Article 370: Mehbooba Mufti

By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Jun 23, 2021 01:00 AM IST

The remarks by Mufti, PAGD vice-chairperson and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief, came two days before the meeting in Delhi to be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Former Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday stressed that the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), an alliance of mainstream parties in Kashmir, will press for the restoration of Jammu & Kashmir’s special status at a key all-party meeting, and not just settle for the restoration of the region’s full statehood.

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti.(HT File Photo)
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti.(HT File Photo)

The remarks by Mufti, PAGD vice-chairperson and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief, came two days before the meeting in Delhi to be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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“What happened in August 2019 is unacceptable. Article 370, which gave the state its special status, was unconstitutionally removed. We will not settle for less. We want Article 370 to be restored,” Mufti said in an interview to HT, referring to the Centre’s controversial decision to strip Jammu & Kashmir of its special status under Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5, 2019, and split the erstwhile state into two Union territories.

“We are fighting within the Indian Constitution, of which 370 was a part,” she said. “Our special status was given to us by the Constitution of India, not by Pakistan or China or the UN, or an individual,” she added.

The meeting between Modi and mainstream parties from Jammu & Kashmir on June 24 is the first such meeting after August 2019. In the past, the Union government has said it was open to restoring Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood but ruled out reinstating Article 370

When asked if PAGD will accept if full statehood is restored, Mufti said the alliance will not settle for anything less than full restoration of Article 370. “Nothing is cast in stone. [Atal Bihari] Vajpayee and other tall leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel understood the importance of Article 370. The BJP’s (Bharatiya Janata Party) manifesto cannot rule this country, the Constitution will. We will not settle for anything less,” she said.

Mufti, the last serving chief minister of the erstwhile state whose alliance with the BJP broke in 2018, also reiterated her commitment to not fight the elections unless the changes of August 5, 2019, were rolled back.

“I will not fight an election till Article 370 and 35A are restored... My party, the PDP, will contest, but I will not,” she said. Article 35A empowered the state legislature to define permanent residents and bestow special privileges to them.

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