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SOURCE: Hindustan Times

National Conference leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah on Wednesday visited Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti at her residence and invited her for a meeting of all the major regional political parties of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.

The development follows the J&K administration’s decision day before to end the detention of Mehbooba Mufti, who had been under arrest since August 5 last year when the Centre scrapped the J&K’s special status.

Dressed in her trademark green color, Mehbooba Mufti spent the day at her Gupkar residence meeting her party leaders and supporters who had come from various parts of the valley.

“My father and I called on Mehbooba Mufti Sahiba this afternoon to enquire about her well-being after her release from detention. She has kindly accepted Farooq Sb’s invitation to join a meeting of the GupkarDeclaration signatories’ tomorrow afternoon (Thursday),” Omar tweeted.

“Today our visit was without any political motive and we wanted to know her well being… In the meeting tomorrow, the present political situation will be reviewed and what will be the future agenda of the Gupkar Declaration signatories in one view, that will also be discussed,” Omar told reporters outside Mufti’s residence.

Gupkar Declaration is a joint effort of all the regional mainstream political parties – the National Conference, the Peoples Democratic Party, the Peoples Conference, the Awami National Conference and the CPI (M) – of Jammu and Kashmir to fight for the special status of the erstwhile state.

After the meet, Mehbooba Mufti was hopeful that together they could change things.

“It was nice of you & Farooq sahab to come home. It gave me courage listening to him. I am sure together we all can change things for the better,” Mufti responded to Omar Abdullah.

Later in the day, Peoples’ Conference chairman Sajad Lone called on the PDP chief.

Mufti has already sent a terse message to Delhi just an hour after her release. Mufti said that people will have to continue struggling for the resolution of Kashmir issue and whatever was snatched by Delhi on August 5 will have to be taken back.

“I have become free today after more than a year. During this time the black decision of August 5, 2019, black day, would always pain my heart and soul. And I realise that the people of J&K would have the same feeling. Nobody among us can forget the day’s robbery and humiliation,” she said in the 1.23 min audio.

“Now we all will have to reiterate that whatever Delhi Darbar, unconstitutionally and undemocratically, snatched away from us will have to be taken back,” she said.

On August 4, 2019, a day before the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 by the central government and the detention of all the political leaders, a group of prominent politicians of J&K met in Srinagar at Gupkar and issued a joint statement vowing to defend the “identity, autonomy and special status of Jammu & Kashmir against all attacks and onslaughts whatsoever”. The statement has since then come to be known as the Gupkar Declaration.

A year after the development on August 22, 2020, the six political parties of the erstwhile state again issued a statement and announced to carry forward the Gupkar Declaration.

It was the first such joint statement signed by mainstream parties after the revocation of Article 370 and splitting the region into two union territories which hinted at launching a joint struggle for restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

“We all reiterate that we are bound, wholly, by the contents of the Gupkar declaration and will unwaveringly adhere to it. We are committed to strive for the restoration of Articles 370 and 35A, the Constitution of J&K and the restoration of the State and any division of the State is unacceptable to us. We unanimously reiterate that there can be ‘nothing about us without us’,” the joint statement had said.

Nearly all of Kashmir’s mainstream political leaders were detained hours before the central government nullified Article 370 of the Constitution, which accorded special status to the region, and bifurcated the state into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir with a legislature and Ladakh without one.

Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah, the two other former chief ministers, were released on March 13 and March 24, respectively.