SRINAGAR: Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said on Monday that he stands by his remarks crediting Pakistan, Hurriyat and militants with allowing peaceful elections in the state, while his coalition partner BJP faced Opposition’s heat in Parliament and outside.
“What I’ve said, I’ve said. Will stand by that…the media is trying to create mountain out of a molehill,” Mufti told reporters after casting his vote for the Legislative Council elections in Jammu.
Under fire, Mufti gave his own interpretation to his remarks, saying that he meant people of Kashmir had reposed faith in the working of democracy in Kashmir and Pakistan and Hurriyat had recognized that “the voter slip, not bullets or grenades, is the destiny of the people”.
“Everything they have tried. They (forces across the border) recognised the institution of democracy. What I said, I stand by it,” he said
“And this voter slip has been given to us by the Constitution of India…the people of J&K have more faith in this. They (people from across the border and Hurriyat) did not interfere, as was happening in the past,” he said.
He said the media had highlighted only a part of what he said Sunday and the “positive things” he said had been ignored.
Home minister Rajnath Singh had dissociated his party from Mufti’s remarks and said Election Commission of India, armed forces and the people of Kashmir deserved credit for successful polls. He was responding to Opposition’s sharp reaction to Mufti’s remarks.
In Rajya Sabha, Congress member Shantaram Naik raised the issue during Zero Hour, saying, “This statement is bordering anti-national…This is violative of oath of office as he is showing allegiance to forces which are anti-national.”
“The people of Jammu & Kashmir, Election Commission and security forces made the elections possible and Sayeed did not give credit to them. Among the 24 ministers sworn-in, one of them is brother of a Hurriyat leader and has a Pakistani wife,” Naik said.
He said Modi had during the election campaign called for discussion on Article 370 and quoted the Prime Minister as having said then “Kam se kam charcha to karo (at least discuss the issue)” but is now evading it.
PDP president and MP Mehbooba Mufti backed her father’s remarks, saying, “My father is a man of peace, he believes in the democratic process…there was less violence this time compared to the Lok Sabha polls…if violence reduces we should engage with all and we need to build stakes for Pakistan and Hurriyat in our peace process.”
“We need to build stakes for Pakistan and Hurriyat in our peace process. If separatists and militants are stepping back from violence we should encourage them. Armed forces were there in previous elections too but there was violence…My father is not a war monger, don’t expect him to say ‘Bomb Pakistan,’“ she said.
“If some people expect that my father say ‘bomb Pakistan and throw Hurriyat leaders in jails in Delhi’—as Farooq (Abdullah)used to say—I am sorry to say, my father is not used to that language,” she told reporters at state Legislature complex in Jammu.
(with Agency inputs)