The leaders of various political parties held a meeting here on Monday and later staged a demonstration, demanding immediate restoration of statehood, assembly elections and extension of Article 371 to Jammu Kashmir.
The political parties, including the Shiv Sena (UBT), National Panthers Party (NPP) and Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Party (DSSP), also highlighted their demand for deportation of illegally settled immigrants, early return and settlement of the Kashmiri migrant pandits and regularisation of the daily wagers.
This was the first such meeting in Jammu after the Supreme Court on December 11 upheld the abrogation of Article 370 by the Centre in August 2019. “We have taken part in the ‘all-party meet’ organised by the Shiv Sena and Sainik Samaj Party and highlighted our demand for immediate restoration of statehood and democratically elected government in Jammu and Kashmir,” NPP chairman and former minister Harsh Dev Singh told PTI after the meeting.
The NPP chairman accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of ruling Jammu and Kashmir by a remote control over the past many years. “Almost all the bureaucrats posted in J&K are from outside and do not know anything about the region as a result of which the alienation among the local populace is increasing with each passing day,” he said.
“The democratically elected government is also an antidote against militancy, extremism and violence,” Singh said, adding his party will always remain in the forefront to safeguard the interests of the people of Jammu region.
Manish Sahni, the president of Shiv Sena (UBT) Jammu and Kashmir, said that the meeting was organised to discuss various “burning issues” pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir, especially the Jammu region. “The issues discussed in detail at the meeting include the restoration of statehood and extension of special status under Article 371 to J&K besides holding of the assembly elections, deportation of illegally settled immigrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh and return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants,” he added.
Sahni said the meeting also demanded immediate lifting of all toll plaza from Jammu-Pathankot highway given the heavy rush of the pilgrims to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine and regularisation of daily wagers.
Jammu district president of DSSP, Vijayant Pathania, said his party supports extension of the Article 371 of the constitution to J&K to safeguard the land and jobs rights for the local populace. “We attended the meeting which decided to form a committee to ensure that all the points on the agenda are highlighted for their implementation on the ground,” he added.
Social activist Anna Durani said the eight points discussed and deliberated upon in the meeting include safeguarding the Dogra culture and heritage, and inclusion of Punjabi in the list of official languages.
The participants highlighted the need for unity and a sustained struggle to achieve the eight-point agenda, she said. PTI