After 3 decades of political rivalry, Sheikh families to unite

ANC-NC shuns differences to fight for restoring special status

SRINAGAR: The National Conference and the Awami National Conference (ANC), two rival parties led by the scions of Sheikh Abdullah, will now work on one political programme: to bring back Article 370, statehood, the J&K State flag and the J&K Constitution.
This is the first time that the two family factions are coming together since they parted ways 35 years ago.
“As our family is one, our goal is one, we decided to fight together. As of now our way forward is the Gupkar Declaration, the political programme for getting everything back that was taken from us through the barrel of the gun,” Muzaffar Shah, vice-president of ANC, told Kashmir Reader.
The ANC came into being in 1984 when Ghulam Muhammad Shah, the son-in-law of Sheikh Abdullah, toppled the government of Farooq Abdullah through the support of legislators. Throughout these years, the family was never united, despite having a common political stand.
Sheikh’s party was moved forward by his son Farooq and grandson Omar, both of whom have served as chief ministers of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir. The ANC was later led by Shah’s wife Khalida Shah, and now his son, Muzaffar Shah.
“We will now work as one. This unity is so strong that Narendra Modi may break but the family of Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah will not. The removal of Sheikh Abdullah’s name from everything in Kashmir is vile because it has come from those who killed Mahatma Gandhi and attempted to erase his name. They failed in doing so, they will fail here as well. The Sheikh lives in the hearts and minds of people,” Shah said.
Shah said the merger of the two parties will be decided on the discussion table when all leaders including Farooq Abdullah, Mustafa Kamal, Khalida Shah, and him will be released from detention. Among these leaders, Farooq Abdullah, who is also a sitting Member of Parliament, has been booked under the draconian Public Safety Act, a law that was enacted by his late father to clamp down on forest smugglers.
Shah said that he is hopeful that Article 370 and Article 35-A will be back because they were agreed to by two sovereign people and two constituent assemblies.
“How can the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, which is older than the Constitution of India, be abrogated? The case is in court, and we will fight it there us to get our statehood back,” Shah said

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