Srinagar: The Kargil units of the Congress and the National Conference issued a joint statement a day ahead of the first anniversary of the scrapping of Article 370, demanding reunification of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh and a return of statehood.
The parties declared 5 August the “darkest day in the history of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh”, and appealed to the people of Kargil to mark the day as ‘black day’ to “denounce the central government’s decision”.
Leaders of both parties said this in a joint statement at the end of an “all-party meeting”, to which they said the BJP was also invited but didn’t attend.
However, the parties have not demanded the restoration of Article 370, which gave special status to the former state of Jammu and Kashmir.
NC leader Hanifa Jan said while there was consensus on demanding the reunification of the UTs and restoration of statehood, the Kargil unit will take its cue from the party high command’s stand on the return of special status, whenever it decides.
Other decisions and demands
The parties, in the statement, also condemned the “loss of social and political rights of the people of Ladakh, and its cultural identity”. They said they are fully committed to fight for the restoration of social, political and cultural rights of the people of Ladakh.
“The two parties have also decided that in the very near future, they will formulate a future course of action in this regard. They have appealed to the general public and the religious and social institutions of the Kargil to wholeheartedly extend their support to the coming action plan in the interest of the rejoin,” read point 4 in the ‘decision’ section of the statement.
Plans in the Valley
The meeting was significant, taking place as it did a day before the first anniversary of the the abrogation of Article 370.
Kashmir has been put under a strict curfew by the J&K administration, citing the possibility of violent ‘black day’ protests. In an official order Monday, the J&K government stated that Srinagar’s senior superintendent of police had reported a series of inputs that suggested “separatists and Pakistan-sponsored groups are planning to observe 5 August as black day”.
NC MP Justice Hasnain Masoodi (retd) told ThePrint that his party will examine how strict the curfew is and formulate a plan for its ‘black day’ protests.
Peoples Democratic Party leader Waheed Para said the Srinagar unit plans to hold a small peaceful demonstration outside the press enclave in the city.
Meanwhile, BJP Kashmir spokesperson Altaf Thakur said the party will unfurl the national flag at all its district offices.
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