Kashmiri leaders to urge Modi to restore region’s autonomy

SRINAGAR, 22 June 2021, (TON): Kashmiri politicians will urge Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to restore held Kashmir’s autonomy when they meet him on Thursday for the first talks since he took away the region’s special status two years ago.

New Delhi has struggled for decades to dampen freedom sentiments in occupied Kashmir, accusing Islamabad of supporting Kashmiris.

Reasserting New Delhi’s control in August 2019, Modi abolished Article 370 of the Indian constitution, ending the held state’s autonomy and removing its statehood by splitting it into ‘union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh’.

Some of the politicians set to meet Narendra Modi were among the thousands of people detained back then to forestall a backlash against the shock move. The government also imposed months-long communications restrictions in the highly-sensitive valley to stifle opposition.

“Our agenda is restoration of pre-August 5, 2019, status of Jammu and Kashmir,” Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti told her colleagues, according to two officials who attended the online meeting.

A party official said that senior leaders of the National Conference also met over the weekend and backed a decision to push for the restoration of statehood and special status.

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