New Delhi, Srinagar/Nov,17:Union Home Minister Amit Shah Tuesday hit out at the political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir with a string of accusations that included getting “foreign forces to intervene” in the issue of scrapping of Article 370, taking away the rights of women and Dalits and bringing back “terror and turmoil” in Jammu & Kashmir. In a series of tweets, he also targeted the Congress — a signatory of the Gupkar Declaration — asking the party to clarify its position on the issue.
Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti hit back immediately with an equal number of tweets, where she accused the BJP of using “euphemism” and “stale tactic”. National Conference Vice President and another former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah pointed to the “frustration” of the minister at the J&K alliance’s decision to contest elections.
“Congress and the Gupkar Gang want to take J&K back to the era of terror and turmoil. They want to take away rights of Dalits, women and tribals that we have ensured by removing Article 370. This is why they’re being rejected by the people everywhere,” his tweet read.
“Gupkar gang” is a slur for the “People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration”, a group of key political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir — including Farooq Abdullah, his arch-rival Mehbooba Mufti and Sajjad Lone — who came together to fight for the restoration of Article 370 and a resolution to Kashmir.
BJP leaders have accused them of being anti-national, especially after Abdullah’s speech in parliament in September, advocating talks with Pakistan. The 83-year-old had argued that if India can talk to China to defuse their border row, it can also speak to its other neighbour to deal with the situation at Jammu and Kashmir borders.The BJP had demanded that Mehbooba Mufti be charged with sedition after the Vice President of the People’s Alliance said she will not raise the national flag till Jammu and Kashmir’s own flag is back. Jammu and Kashmir had lost its flag, part of its special status under Constitution’s Article 370, after it was scrapped in August last year and the state was bifurcated into two Union Territories.
“Jammu and Kashmir has been, is and will always remain an integral part of India. Indian people will no longer tolerate an unholy ‘global gathbandhan’ against our national interest. Either the Gupkar Gang swims along with the national mood or else the people will sink it,” Amit Shah also tweeted.
His tweets found support from his cabinet colleague, Finance minister NIrmala Sitharaman. “Well said, @AmitShah ji. The @INCIndia has increasingly found comfort in the ‘break-India'(‘tukde-tukde’) naxal groups. They have exposed their continuing tendency to associate with forces which seek external help to upset India. People of India seek an answer from @INCIndia,” her response read.
In her tweets, Mehbooba Mufti accused the BJP of double standards when it comes to election. “Fighting elections in an alliance is also anti-national now. BJP can stitch as many alliances in its hunger for power but somehow we are undermining national interest by putting up a united front,” her tweet read.
“Love jihad, tukde tukde & now Gupkar Gang dominates the political discourse instead of like rising unemployment & inflation,” she said in another tweet.”Only in J&K can leaders be detained & called anti-national for participating in elections & supporting the democratic process. The truth is all those who oppose the ideology of the BJP are labelled “corrupt & anti-national”,” his tweet read.
The Gupkar Declaration was signed on August 4, 2019, after an all-party meeting at the Gupkar Road residence National Conference patriarch Farooq Abdullah. It marked a resolution of attending regional parties and the Congress to protect Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status and fight against any move to dilute it.Two days later, the Centre ended the special status of the state granted under the Constitution and bifurcated it into two Union territories. This August, the political parties had met again, and vowed to fight for restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.