Special Commentary
JK News Today

Srinagar, January 26:

Apni Party Chief Altaf Bukhari’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday evening was much more than presentation of memorandum pressing for the demand of the restoration of the statehood to J&K but reiteration of faith in the communication between Srinagar and Delhi as a matter of political faith to address each other’s concerns.

This meeting which had all the ingredients of putting the issues agitating the people of Jammu and Kashmir , including their mighty fall from being residents of a state to the union territory and the restoration of 4G mobile internet , unemployment and return of Kashmiri Hindus , better known as Kashmiri Pandits , on the table was to find a way forward for the people of J&K through talks.

Altaf Bukhari is the only leader from Kashmir who demonstrated his courage of meeting the Prime Minister against all adverse narration about him by his critics . He had met the Prime Minister on march 14 last year, in less than a week after formation of the Apni Party that had listed the restoration of the statehood as its top most priority .The January 24 meeting was a continuation of that; keeping the communication alive.

“ It should be understood , and it should be clear to one and all that ultimately we will have to talk to Delhi to get the things done,” Altaf Bukhari said it a number of times. “ We lost the statehood , and it is our responsibility to push for its restoration. No one will give us our statehood unless the matter is agitated in the spirit of reconciliation with the country’s leadership,” Bukhari said.

So far, the traditional Kashmiri leadership has been cursing Delhi for doing what it did on August 5, 2019,- the scrapping of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 , and the special rights and privileges of the permanent residents of the state to own land , jobs and scholarships in J&K, and bifurcation of the state into two union territories of J&K and Ladakh. They have not attempted to open communication, some of them, including Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti have evaded the communication saying that they cannot hope to get back the things from those who have taken away their special identity.

These leaders have avoided communication because they know that given the nation’s mood and the parliamentary majority of BJP , would yield no results . They want the special status back, though they know that this was in the BJP’s manifesto . But what BJP had not listed in the manifesto was to take away the statehood of J&K , though it had a longstanding commitment to grant UT status to Ladakh . So, what it makes clear that the UT of Ladakh had to be carved out of J&K. The rest of J&K could have been kept as a state , but that didn’t happen . The rest of J&K was labelled as another UT. Of course , there was a promise to restore he statehood to J&K.

Altaf Bukhari has reminded the Centre, now to the PM also, that the statehood should be restored as per the promise made on the floor of the parliament.

The communication mantra being pursued vigorously by Altaf Bukhari can open the windows to address the issue , and other issues concerning the people of J&K . That is the most important part of Bukhari’s meeting with the Prime Minister.