Centre Invites Political Parties Of Ladakh, Kargil For Meeting On July 1: Report26 June 2021
New Delhi: After holding talks with the prime political groups of Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre has now invited political parties of neighbouring Kargil and Ladakh for a meeting, a report said on June 26. The meeting will be held at 11 am on July 1, at the residence of Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy, CNN News 18 reported. According to the news channel, former MPs along with members of civil society have been invited to the talks. The meeting assumes significance as it comes days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met representatives of 14 political parties of Jammu & Kashmir, including four former chief ministers of the erstwhile state. J&K and Ladakh were bifurcated and downgraded into two separate Union territories on October 31, 2019. This was preceded by the abrogation of Article 370 - that granted special status to the region - on August 5 that year. Kargil, which according to several J&K parties shares demographic and cultural links with Kashmir Valley, has been included in the Union territory of Ladakh. Former J&K chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was among those who had protested against the decision to include Kargil in Ladakh. In the meeting held with the J&K parties on June 24, the prime minister assured that the union territory would be granted statehood, as promised in the Parliament. 'We are committed to ensure all-round development of J&K. The future of Jammu and Kashmir was discussed and the delimitation exercise and peaceful elections are important milestones in restoring statehood as promised in Parliament,' Union Home Minister Amit Shah had tweeted following the meeting. The J&K parties, including former CMs Ghulam Nabi Azad and Omar Abdullah, said they want the statehood to be restored first and elections held later. Mehbooba Mufti, another ex-CM who was present in the meeting, said that she would not be in the fray for the chief ministerial post unless Article 370 is restored.