Srinagar, INDIA (Reuters) – Kashmir’s main political parties announced a grand alliance on Thursday to seek a peaceful restoration of its autonomy after India’s release of the last major Kashmiri political leader from lengthy detention.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government revoked the Muslim-majority region’s special status last year, cracked down on opposition and rounded up hundreds of people to forestall protests.
On Tuesday, the government ordered the release of Mehbooba Mufti after a 14-month detention and she and other leaders promptly called for a campaign to restore Kashmir’s special rights.
“Our battle is a constitutional battle. We want the government of India to return to the people of the state (of Kashmir) the rights they held before 5th August, 2019,” said former Kashmiri chief minister Farooq Abdullah.
Modi’s government said at the time that ending Kashmir’s special status was necessary for closer integration of the Himalayan mountain territory into the rest of India.
After revoking Kashmir’s autonomy, the New Delhi government imposed a communication blackout with mobiles phones, internet links and landlines cut as part of its crackdown.
Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah, both former chief ministers, were released by authorities earlier this year.
(Reporting by Fayaz Bukhari in Srinagar; Writing by Shilpa Jamkhandikar and Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Mark Heinrich)