The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) today expelled eight party leaders who met a delegation of foreign envoys visiting Jammu and Kashmir, saying that they had "gone against the will of the people" by collaborating with the centre.
The Mehbooba Mufti-led party said that its disciplinary committee recommended the expulsion of these leaders from the party's primary membership. "In view of the developments post-August 5 and the unilateral move of the government of India that has violated the will and hurt the sentiments of the people, it has come to our attention that certain party leaders have been part of the parleys that go against the interests of the state, official position and core beliefs of the party," it said in a release.
News agency PTI identified the expelled leaders as former MLAs Dilawar Mir, Rafi Ahmad Mir, Zaffar Iqbal, Abdul Majeed Padroo, Raja Manzoor Khan, Javaid Hussain Baig, Qamar Hussain and Abdul Rahim Rather.
Many politicians -- including PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti and the National Conference's Farooq and Omar Abdullah -- were taken into detention on the eve of August 5, when the centre scrapped Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 of the constitution and bifurcated it into two distinct union territories. While a few detained politicians have been released, Internet services remain suspended in the Valley as a "precautionary" measure.
Envoys from 15 nations -- including the US -- arrived in Jammu and Kashmir for a two-day visit to check on the ground situation in the newly created union territory. The second such initiative undertaken by the centre since August 5, it is aimed at convincing the global community that reports of atrocities and rights violations in Kashmir are exaggerated.
The eight leaders had thrown their weight behind former PDP leader Syed Altaf Bukhari and were part of a delegation that met Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu On Tuesday. They also met the visiting envoys for a "free and frank" discussion earlier today.
Mr Bukhari was expelled from the PDP for "anti-party activities" early last year after reports emerged that he was trying to float a third front in Kashmir with the help of rebels. Today, in an exclusive interview with news agency IANS, he said that the time has come for the people to look beyond Article 370 and set "more achievable" targets. "The pain of loss of Article 370 will never go, but we have to come out of it. Life goes on. We must try for things we can get," he said.
The centre is yet to provide a time-frame for when the top leadership of the PDP and National Conference will be released from detention.
Incidentally, the PDP had joined hands with the BJP to rule Jammu and Kashmir for two years through 2016 to 2018. The coalition government collapsed when the BJP pulled out in 2019.
(With inputs from Agencies)