17:19 GMT23 July 2021
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    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met leaders of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday and committed to revive the democratic process in the valley. Modi urged ex-state chiefs, party chiefs, and other leaders to participate in the delimitation process that is being held in the valley to restructure the constituencies before the next assembly elections.

    Days after the first such outreach exercise by the federal government following the revocation of the special status of disputed Jammu and Kashmir, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi called PM Modi’s Kashmir policy "a failure". The Indian parliament abrogated Article 370 of the constitution on 5 August 2019 and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh into two union territories.

    He also questioned the decision of the Narendra Modi-led government to hold discussions over delimitation in Jammu and Kashmir.

    "Delimitation has been talked about in PM Modi's meeting. What kind of delimitation is this? How will you do it? Will you do it on the basis of population or geographical area? Your Kashmir policy has failed”, Owaisi said.

    Meanwhile, meeting with local leaders in Ladakh on Monday, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that significant success had been achieved in containing terrorism and boosting socio-economic development in the two union territories.

    "The Union government's decision to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as two separate UTs has bolstered national security and led to a major reduction in terrorist activities and also opened new avenues for socio-economic development of the people in both the regions", Singh said.

    "Two years is not a long period of time...Our government has initiated several steps for infrastructure development and to promote investment", he added.

    The 24 June meeting with PM Modi was attended by 14 prominent leaders of Jammu & Kashmir, including former state chiefs Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and Mehbooba Mufti.

    After the meeting, all the leaders said that the talks were held in a positive atmosphere.

    However, Omar Abdullah later said that they didn't accept delimitation, elections, and then statehood (in this particular order).


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