For the first time after revocation of article 370, the political parties of Kashmir came together under one roof to issue a joint statement that they will fight for restoring the status quo. The political parties of Jammu and Kashmir – the National Conference (NC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Indian National Congress, the J&K Peoples Conference (PC), the CPI(M) and the Awami National Conference (ANC) — have vowed to fight collectively against the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status. This unanimous agreement is referred to as Gupkar Declaration 2.
The joint statement was signed by the two former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah (NC) and Mehbooba Mufti (PDP), and other unionists like Sajad Lone (PC), Muzaffar Shah (ANC), Ghulam Ahmad Mir (PCC) and Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami (CPI(M)).
What does the coming together of these parties mean for common Kashmiri and New Delhi?
“There is no way the political parties can operate in the manner they used to, the anger among Kashmiris is so much that these leaders won’t even step out in any public gathering. The Gupkar Declaration is a different way to present themselves to us. Kashmiris have to be naive to fall into it. Of course we are all aware of Declaration-1 by Sheikh Abdullah, the Declaration-2 establishes that only political seats matter to them.” said a kashmiri man who works as a journalist in Kashmir for a local newspaper.
“No Kashmiri in his senses would fall for this sham declaration. It is nothing but a move to tell us that we didn’t betray you. It is assuming that all Kashmiris are blind and have not noticed anything.” said Majid who owns a houseboat in Srinagar. He adds, “PDP joined hands with BJP, Mehbooba Ji has blood of Kashmiris on her hands”
“Gupkar Declaration is the strong face that kashmiri political leadership is trying to show to New Delhi. Of course there are voids between all 4 regional parties that are not too hard to notice for political experts sitting in Delhi and they will exploit these in coming days. As far as the Sikh stand on Gupkar Declaration is concerned, we stand by the public of Kashmir and not its political clowns who have been mere pawns of whoever has been in power in Delhi.” Sikh Youth Federation said in a statement.
Interestingly a party called Apni Party has been very vocal about statehood and other issues but has not attended the meeting at Gupkar, making the rounds of rumours that party is Ram Madhav’s creation to cut vote.
Gupkar Declaration remains the only significant step post abrogation of article 370. Will it lead to something tangible? Only time will tell.