Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s all-party meeting with the J&K leaders is an important step in the direction of building political confidence in the Union Territory which lost its statehood on August 5, 2019.
Satish Mahaldar, Chairman, Reconciliation Return and Rehabilitations of Migrants said the loss of statehood is a deeply felt grievance of the people of J&K as it robbed them of a definite status and direct power.
The people of J&K have suffered over the decades, especially after the advent of terrorism which affected the political and demographic map of the place, he added.
“It is an opportune time to give back what is rightfully ours. Statehood to J&K should be announced as early as possible. But, along with statehood, special status should be restored to J&K,” Mahaldar demanded.
He said the fact is that J&K is surrounded by two hostile countries — Pakistan and China — and the UT has been badly suffering because of terrorism. Therefore, it becomes imperative to accord special status to the UT.
“We demand special status with:
i) guaranteed and protected rights to the minorities and disadvantaged communities
ii) preference to the locals in jobs, educational institutions & industry setup
iii) protection of land.
iv) representation of the minorities in the Assembly,” Mahaldar said.
“Giving special status to J&K will also allay the fears of the majority Muslim community. It is high time that the Modi-led Central government takes some bold initiatives in giving relief to the people of J&K,” he said.