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SOURCE: SUNDAY GUARDIAN LIVE

Mainstream political parties who have recently decided to stand by the Gupkar declaration to fight for the restoration of Article 370 are seriously mulling to fight it politically in the Kashmir valley rather than in the Supreme Court where there are many writ petitions pending challenging the 5 August 2019 Parliament decision to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status and downgrading the erstwhile state into two Union territories of Ladakh and J&K.

The reasons for such thinking have stemmed from the recent developments, including the 4G writ petition in Supreme Court and the recent assurance to the Ladakh delegation by the Union Home Minister that they will get new laws protecting their land and jobs on the pattern of Article 370.

While the Supreme Court gave all powers to the administration for the restoration of 4G services, an “ornamental restoration” was done in two districts of Jammu and Kashmir, with assurance that it would be a gradual process. The latest order by J&K administration said that 4G curbs will remain in the rest of districts barring those two, up to 21 October 2020.

A court recently announced the Babri demolition verdict, giving a clean chit to all senior BJP leaders, including former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani. Some of the recent decisions by the courts have not gone down well with the people of Kashmir, especially with the political leaders.

Recent assurances to the Ladakh delegation by the Union Home Minister for preserving their identity has forced even J&K Apni Party, which is regarded as the “B” team of BJP in Kashmir, to come out in the open, asking the Centre to pass a law for the people of Jammu and Kashmir to safeguard their land and jobs.

Recent media reports from Jammu have further angered the mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir when the BJP came out with the statement saying that its leaders have been distributing domicile certificates in many areas of Jammu region to the needy people. Sharp reactions came from many quarters in Jammu and also from Kashmir when many leaders questioned the administration for delegating their powers to local BJP leaders for the issuance of domicile certificates.

The first reaction after the Babri Masjid demolition case verdict came from senior leader of National Conference and former minister Syed Basharat Bukhari, asking all the stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir to withdraw their petitions challenging the revocation of Article 370, in Supreme Court.

In a tweet, Bukhari said, “High time for J&K political parties/individuals to withdraw cases viz Article370/35A after today’s verdict. It is better to fight politically rather than having a chapter closed by the court.”

Although the National Conference said that these were his personal views, party insiders said that very soon, a collective decision would be taken by all the parties and stakeholders of how to move with their struggle for the restoration of Article 370.

PDP insiders told this reporter that their detained party chief and former Chief Minister is already advocating “a full-blooded political struggle in all the areas of Jammu and Kashmir to pose a political challenge to the BJP government rather than moving to court only”.

Mehbooba Mufti is keenly watching how the Supreme Court is going to decide about her continued detention as it has been challenged by her daughter and the court recently asked the government how long they are going to keep her under detention.

National Conference, on the other hand, has been very confident that they have a strong case before the Supreme Court for the restoration of special status as they feel that whatever the Central government did on 5 August 2019, is unconstitutional and it will not stand before the court.