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OCCUPIED SRINAGAR: Kashmiri politicians will urge Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to restore Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir’s (IIOJK) autonomy when they meet him on Thursday for the first talks since he took away the region's special status two years ago, party officials said.

New Delhi has struggled for decades to dampen secessionist sentiments in what had been its only Muslim majority state.

Reasserting New Delhi's control in August 2019, Modi abolished Article 370 of the Constitution, ending the region's autonomy and removing its statehood by splitting it into the federal territories of IIJOK and Buddhist-dominated Ladakh.

Some of the politicians set to meet Modi on Thursday were among the thousands of people detained back then to forestall a backlash against the shock move. The government also imposed months-long communications restrictions in the highly-sensitive Kashmir valley to stifle opposition.

"Our agenda is restoration of pre-August 5, 2019 status of Jammu and Kashmir," People's Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti told her colleagues on Sunday, according to two officials who attended the online meeting.

Senior leaders of the National Conference also met over the weekend and backed a decision to push for the restoration of statehood and special status, a party official said.

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