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Kashmir polls: Parties bank on separatism

india Updated: Oct 27, 2008 23:47 IST
Arun Joshi
Arun Joshi
Hindustan Times
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With pro-azadi (freedom) slogans of separatists abuzz in Kashmir, the mainstream regional political parties are raking up ‘semi-separatist cause’ in their election manifestoes as last-ditch effort to attract voters.

While the Peoples Democratic Party's (PDP) has come up with a document on self-rule, the National Conference (NC) calls for restoration of pre-1953 status of J&K.

The PDP's self-rule document entails on the concept of, what the party calls, Greater Jammu and Kashmir (GJAK). It seems the party has taken cue from former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf's four-point formula. The formula speaks of self-governance of seven regions of J&K.

The formula vouches for a trans-border and a pan-Kashmir concept with “shared sovereignty”. Musharraf had named it as a “joint management” by an “overarching” authority of the two parts of the state divided by LoC and Northern Areas.

The PDP's document also calls for abrogation of the articles that vest power with the Centre to dismiss governments or Indian Parliament to legislate on the matters of the State and governor.

On the other hand, the NC is persistent on its traditional demand of restoration of pre-1953 status. The status means the state will have a complete control of the state affairs baring defense, foreign and communications. “Autonomy alone offers a solution to the Kashmir issue, ridding it from violence, meeting political aspirations of the people of the state,” said NC president and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah.

The Congress, a national political party, while maintaining its “commitment to Article 370”, granting special status to J&K, sees a breakthrough in the the Sheikh-Indira accord of 1975, which provided for a review of Centre-State relationship.