More than a year after the Gupkar Declaration was issued, the signatories to the document issued a joint statement on 22 August 2020 reiterating their commitment to its contents. 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 said.
What
  1. National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti — who remains detained at her residence — People’s Conference chairman Sajad Lone, Pradesh Congress chief G A Mir, CPI(M) member M Y Tarigami and Muzaffar Shah from the JKANC, are signatories of the statement.
  2. Stating that the signatories to the Gupkar Declaration of August 4, 2019 have “barely managed to establish basic level of communication with each other” in the face of a series of prohibitive and punitive curbs imposed by the government “aimed at impeding all social and political interactions”, the statement was issued after “limited confabulations held within the constraints imposed have resulted in this unanimous resolution”.
  3. Terming the events of August 5, 2019, unfortunate, the leaders said, “In a spitefully shortsighted and unconstitutional move, Articles 370 and 35A were abrogated and the state was bifurcated and relegated to the status of two Union Territories and its Constitution tried to be made unenforceable.
Flashback
  1. Last year, the Gupkar Declaration was signed in a meeting of the mainstream political leadership of Kashmir, during which they unanimously resolved that “all the parties would be united in their resolve to protect and defend identity, autonomy and special status of the JK against all attacks and onslaughts whatsoever.” 
  2. The meeting was convened at Srinagar MP Farooq Abdullah’s residence on Gupkar Road, which is how the name of the document came to be known.
  3. On 22 August 2020, the leaders, except former bureaucrat Shah Faesal said, “There is unanimity amongst us that collective institution is the effective way to fight for these rights and tirelessly struggle to get back the special status and restore the Constitutional guarantees forcibly taken away, against our will. 
  4. The leaders also exhorted the Centre to take due notice of the “ever increasing skirmishes at the LAC and LOC resulting in casualties on both sides” and unabated violent incidents in J&K, and work for enduring peace in the region.