A crucial all-party meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and politicians of different parties in Jammu and Kashmir to discuss the road ahead has concluded in the national capital. This comes after almost two years of the erstwhile state lost its special status and was downgraded into two union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir with an Assembly and Ladakh without one.
Besides the Prime Minister, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval attended the meeting. The four former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were also present.
In all fourteen mainstream leaders from eight political parties attended the meeting aimed at setting on course the political process in the region, which has been under President's Rule since 2018 when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) withdrew support from then Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti's government.
After the meeting, People's Conference chairman Muzaffar Baig told India Today that PM Modi was reassuring and responded to all points raised in the meeting. "We were all in agreement that we must work for democracy and development of J&K. The PM Modi listened very patiently. He was reassuring and responded to all points raised in the meeting," he said.
J&K Apni Party's Altaf Bukhari said PM Modi heard their issues and assured that the election process will begin when the delimitation process finishes. "The talks were held in a good atmosphere today. The Prime Minister heard our issues of all leaders. PM said that election process will begin when delimitation process finishes," Bukhari said. "The PM asked all to participate in the delimitation process. We have been assured that this is the roadmap towards elections. PM also said that we are committed to the restoration of statehood," he added.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said they kept five demands in the meeting: Grant statehood soon, conduct Assembly elections to restore democracy, rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in J&K, all political detainees should be released and on domicile rules. "The Home Minister said the government is committed to granting statehood to Jammu and Kashmir. All leaders demanded full-fledged statehood," Azad added.
"The meeting was held in a very cordial manner. We came out quite positive that hopefully there will be some delivery for the people of Jammu and Kashmir," said People's Conference leader Sajjad Lone.
Meanwhile, PM Narendra Modi heard out suggestions and inputs from all participants. He expressed happiness that all participants shared their honest views. It was an open discussion that revolved around building a better future for Kashmir, news agency ANI quoted sources as saying.
PM Modi expressed happiness on the commitment to Constitution & Democracy espoused by participants. He said even one death in J&K is painful & it's our collective duty to protect youth. He stressed that we need to give opportunities to J&K youth & they'll give back lots to our country.
The development achieved by J&K was discussed in detail with the implementation of many pro-people initiatives. PM Modi expressed satisfaction with the acceleration of development in Jammu & Kashmir and said that it is creating new hope and aspirations among the people.
PM Modi said that when people experience corruption-free governance, it inspires trust among the people and people also extend their co-operation to the administration and this is visible in J&K today.
The PM said that there would be political differences but everyone should work in national interest so that people of J&K benefit. He stressed that atmosphere of safety & security needs to be ensured for all in J&K. He said he wants to remove 'Dilli ki Duri' & 'Dil Ki Duri'