Nearly two years after abrogating Article 370 and placing politicians from Jammu and Kashmir under house arrest, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted a group of leaders from the valley for an extraordinary meeting at his official residence in Delhi. However, no sooner did the meeting conclude and Home Minister Amit Shah shared a group photo of PM Modi with all Kashmiri leaders, ‘Gupkar Gang’ became a topic of intense discussions on Twitter.
That’s because, not too long ago, Shah had disparagingly referred to the same group of politicians from Jammu and Kashmir as members of Gupkar Gang. Taking to Twitter in November 2020, Shah had written, “The Gupkar Gang is going global! They want foreign forces to intervene in Kashmir. The Gupkar Gang also insults India’s Tricolour. Do Sonia Ji and Rahul Ji support such moves of the Gupkar Gang? They should make their stand crystal clear to the people of India.”
Shah’s tweet about ‘Gupkar Gang’ had come in the aftermath of a controversy over PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti’s comments related to India’s tricolour.
Once BJP’s coalition partner, Mufti had said that members of her party would not fly the tricolour until they are allowed to hoist the flag of Jammu and Kashmir. The former chief minister had placed the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir flag in front of her as she interacted with reporters.
On Thursday, Shah was quick to share the group photo of same group of Kashmiri politicians with PM Modi and himself on Twitter as he wrote, “Today’s meeting on Jammu and Kashmir was conducted in a very cordial environment. Everyone expressed their commitment to democracy and the constitution. It was stressed to strengthen the democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir.”
Also present at PM Modi’s residence for the meeting was National Conference leader Omar Abdullah. When asked to comment about Shah’s Gupkar Gang jibe in the past, Abdullah told India Today TV channel, “The home minister of India did not call us Gupkar Gang in this meeting. The home minister heard us out patiently, did not interrupt any of the people who spoke, listen to whatever we had to say and as a first step, it’s a good beginning.”
This, however, did not stop Twitterati from reacting to the BJP’s perceived hypocrisy over their stand on Kashmir and its politicians.
He was questioning Rahul ji & Sonia ji and 6 months later has himself gone and sat in the lap of ‘Gupkar Gang’.
Going global @AmitShah ji? ↩️
How it started How it’s going pic.twitter.com/TvTIaQtxAV
— गौरव पांधी | Gaurav Pandhi (@GauravPandhi) June 24, 2021
Indian political leadership doesn’t learn from history. It has yet again put its faith in #GupkarGang known for political opportunism, betrayals & back stabbings.
The followers of Sheikh Abdullah’s kind of politics are trained to be nodders inside a meeting & rebellious outside. https://t.co/2GCNp7gv2m
— Asim Khan ???????? (@AsimKhanTweets) June 24, 2021
The ‘Gupkar Gang’ has acted as a veritable arm of the BJP. Today the veil is lifted. https://t.co/5ZuOcDcK1e
— Fidato (@tequieremos) June 24, 2021
— GK Zhimomi (@gkzhimomi) June 24, 2021
According to PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig, Modi told the Kashmiri politicians that assembly elections there will be held after the completion of the ongoing delimitation exercise. News agency PTI quoted Baig as saying that during the three-and-a-half-hour-long meeting, almost all the 14 leaders from Jammu and Kashmir demanded that its statehood, which was removed in August 2019, should be restored.