APs mega rally:

Melting Political Ice

Kashmir Magazine

Calls for restoration of statehood to J&K

Demands early assembly polls in the UT

Only SC can restore Art-370, 35(A) back

Will form committee to visit jails to ensure release of youth

Will provide 500 units electricity free, if voted to power


In a first, after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A, Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party held a massive public rally in Srinagar, signaling the early conduct of assembly polls in J&K. The party, headed by Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari claimed that over 40, 000 people attended the massive rally, which is seen as the first mega rally by any political party in the Kashmir valley after 2019.

The rally, which the party claims as the show of strength, is arguably the largest public meeting by any political party in the Valley since the region was stripped of its special status and statehood.

Apni Party’s call for a mega rally at SK stadium in Srinagar received a massive public response as people from all the regions of the Valley thronged the venue, where the Party President Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari demanded immediate restoration of the statehood to J&K, besides spelling out the party’s vision for Jammu and Kashmir.

The rally started in the forenoon with hordes of people from each and every corner of the Valley reaching the stadium. This was the first-ever convention of its kind in terms of people belonging to different regions and affiliated with different religions joining together in the capital city.

In his speech, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari strongly demanded the restoration of J&K’s statehood and the immediate holding of the assembly polls. He said, “The key purpose of organizing this huge public gathering is to urge GoI to restore the statehood to Jammu and Kashmir and hold assembly elections without any further delay. On this occasion, we want to remind the Government that it is committed to restoring J&K’s statehood”.

He added, “J&K people have been deeply wounded and they feel disempowered due to the occurrence of August 5, 2019. To give them some solace this convention demands immediate restoration of statehood that existed till the day of August 5, in 2019”.

He further said, “Also, we demand holding of assembly polls as soon as possible so that people, who have been rendered politically disempowered, would be able to elect their own representatives to run the affairs in J&K. Electing their own representatives is people’s right and they should not be deprived of this right anymore. Having an elected government in place will give people a sense of political and administrative empowerment, and this is how democracies work”.

Reiterating his party’s ideology Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari said, “Apni Party believes in the politics of truth and integrity. We do not believe in deceptive politics; thus, we do not make false promises to the people. We say only what we believe that we can achieve for them. We have promised people that we will ensure peace, prosperity, and development of J&K, and the political and economic empowerment of its people. We will keep striving to achieve these goals and we know these goals are achievable”.

He added, “Unlike the traditional political parties, we will never try to allure our youngsters through emotional slogans and fake promises. The deceptive politics has already taken a toll on our youngsters in terms of landing many of them either in jails or in graveyards over the years. The Apni party wants a peaceful and prosperous future for our youth. I assure you that we will not leave any stone unturned to ensure a promising future for your young population”.

“The people of Jammu and Kashmir laid countless lives in past three decades of uncertainty but of no avail. We all know J&K acceded to Union of India in 1947 and are well aware of this fact too the future of J&K lies with India. Despite we buried 2 lac youth in graves we have achieved nothing concrete”, Bukhari said.

Apni Party President appealed to Kashmir youth not to fall into the trap of ideologies that instigates violence, He said, “We have seen enough of violence and bloodshed during the past more than three decades, and we cannot afford further destruction and deaths here. Our youth is our asset, and we cannot allow them to fall prey to mindless violence anymore. We can achieve everything which is important for the better future of J&K people, through peaceful means. Therefore, I request youngsters to say no to everything that brings misery”.

While explaining his vision for the economic prosperity of Jammu and Kashmir, he said, “Almighty has given us huge resources to rely on for our economic growth. Apni Party, if it gets a mandate, will take initiative to enhance the potential of agriculture, horticulture, and tourism sectors, besides boosting the industry here so that we will have more and more job opportunities for the youth”.

Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari announced that the Apni Party will form a committee to pursue the cases of the prisoners for their release. He said, “We have decided that we will form a committee to look into the cases of the boys who are behind the bars. We will go to the government to urge their release so that they can live a peaceful and normal life. They must be given a chance even if they have committed some mistakes in the past. We will try to take their parents and the village elders on board to ensure these young boys start a normal life with their families once they are free from the prisons”.

He said that the Apni Party will strive for the restoration of Articles 370 and 35(A) through courts; however he made it clear that no J&K government will have the capacity or power to get these constitutional Articles restored. He explained, “Only Supreme Court has the power to get these abrogated laws restored back. Please do not fall prey to the traditional political parties and their leaders who falsely promise you that they will restore Articles 370 and 35(A) once they get elected. They are befooling you for their electoral gains. Earlier, they would come to you with fake promises of getting Autonomy and self-rule for you. Now, they will allure you with the false promises of getting Article 370 back. Be aware and tell them enough is enough”.

During the rally, the participants were seen raising slogans hailing the Apni Party’s leadership. The young party workers greeted the leaders with traditional music and drumbeats at the venue.

Apni Party leader reiterated his promise that the Apni Party, if comes to power, will ensure the supply of 500 units of free electricity to the people in Valley during winters and the same amount of free electricity to the people in Jammu during summers. He also assured that Apni Party’s government will enhance the old age and widow pension from existing rupees to one thousand up to five thousand rupees. Furthermore, he said that Apni Party’s government will improve facilities and develop infrastructure in the health and education sectors.

Speaking on the abrogation of special status, Bukhari said that New Delhi assaulted people of J&K on August 5, 2019 with the nullification of Article 370 and 35(A). “Post abrogation of Article 370 we realized the situation and came forward. People that time were disappointed but Apni Party decided to come forward and heal up the wounds and injuries of people the New Delhi inflicted upon them on August 5, 2019", Bukhari added.

He at the occasion appealed New Delhi to restore statehood to Jammu and Kashmir at the earliest. “The massive participation of people in today’s rally is a clear message to New Delhi to respect the whims and aspirations of people of J&K and conduct assembly polls in the UT without any delay”.

The Apni Party president said the party has decided to constitute a team of experts who will visit jails inside and outside Jammu and Kashmir to ensure the release of youth. “The AP will form a committee of experts who will visit in and outside jails. We will meet youth lodged under PSAs. Will fetch their details and try to ensure their release at the earliest so that they too will live a dignified life in a democratic set up”, he said.

Lashing out on dynastic politics in J&K, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari said the Apni Party is determined to bury the dynastic politics in Jammu and Kashmir. “We believe in the politics of truth. We don’t want to cheat people on those matters which are unachievable. Those duping innocent people in the name of Article 370 and 35 (A) will do nothing. Their politics is already exposed”, Bukhari said and added, “The Article 370 and 35(A) can be restored only through the Supreme Court”.

The prominent party leaders who were present on the occasion, or who addressed the rally included Ghulam Hassan Mir, Aijaz Ahmad Khan, Choudhary Zulfikar, Usman Majid, Zaffar Iqbal Manhas, Javaid Mustafa Mir, Rafi Ahmad Mir, Asgar Ali, Hilal Ahmad Shah, Mohammad Ashraf Mir, Vijay Bakaya, Junaid Azim Mattu, Sardar Manjeet Singh, Abdul Majeed Padar, Muntazir Mohiuddin, Farooq Andrabi, Raja Manzoor, Noor Mohammad Sheikh, Abdul Rahim Rather, Ghulam Mohammad Mir, Jag Mohan Singh Raina, Advocate Nirmal Singh, Javaid Hussain Baigh, Raqeek Khan, Dilshada Shaheen, Aftab Malik, Irfan Manhas, Prem Lal, Faqeer Nath, Shafat Kazmi, Khalid Rathore, and others.

Earlier a day ago, Traffic Police Srinagar had also issued an advisory and asked the people to avoid unnecessary travel towards Lal Chowk and the stadium area in view of the large number of vehicles expected to enter the city with people participating in the rally.

Meanwhile political experts believe that such a rally was first of its kind in the capital city since the 90's as such rallies were being carried out in those times only. They said the show of strength is a kind of indication that elections in Jammu and Kashmir can be held anytime soon.