Asks Bollywood to renew connections with Kashmir
Srinagar: Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday said India is not a country but universe for Kashmiris.
Speaking at India Today Enclave 2017, Mehbooba said also refused to admit that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is authoritarian in his approach.
“For us in Kashmir, India is not a country. It is a universe for us. It is full of diversity, different aspirations and all co-exist. It is the beauty of India,” Mehbooba told the high profile gathering.
“I have met Prime Minister Narendra Modi a few times and I have found that he is open to ideas. He is not authoritative,” she added. “Contrary to perception and allegations by some PM Modi is not centralised. He wants to make it true federal system in the country. He has the moral authority to do it,” Mehbooba was quoted by India today.
Mehbooba along with Madhaya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis were speaking at the conclave today.
Amid the clear rebuff by her ally BJP on her AFSPA withdrawal remarks, she said the Modi-led government and the state government need to think about phasing out AFSPA from the Valley.
She declared Kashmir as “safest” place for women even as gunfights take place. “Come not only to invest. Come to Kashmir with your families,” she said.
The Chief Minister defended Article 370, which bestows special status to Jammu and Kashmir in Indian constitution, saying every state has a unique situation. “You cannot do away with the regional aspirations. You have seen it after Mandal commission report. You have seen groups of Yadavs, rise of Mayawati and others,” Mehbooba said.
“For us in Kashmir, India is not a country. It is a universe for us. It is full of diversity, different aspirations and all co-exist. It is the beauty of India,” Mehbooba added.
Asking Bollywood to renew its connections with Kashmir, Mehbooba appealed country’s film industry to act as promoter of state’s tourism.
Addressing a function attended by several Bollywood stars, the CM reminded the film industry of its warm and affectionate relationship with Kashmir which the people of the state so fondly recall. She appealed the members of film world to take up this thread forward and start re visiting Kashmir in good numbers for shooting.
Mehbooba said the government has put in place a Tourism Policy by which the scope of the industry has been institutionalized and the relevant infrastructure is being continuously upgraded. She said Tulip Festival would soon be organised at Srinagar which would be followed by a blossoming season and appealed tourists to come to enjoy this aesthetically enriching season.
Appealing media to play the role of a partner in promoting tourism of the State, the Chief Minister said Kashmir for travel is as safe as any other place in the country and media should report things about the State in its entirety and perspective.
On the occasion several Bollywood stars shared their experiences of Kashmir and said that they have special love for the place. They assured the Chief Minister of their support in turning to Valley for shooting again.
Actors Raza Murad, Farida Jalal, Ranjeet, Kiran Kumar and other stars besides Director Akbar Khan and Producer of upcoming film Sargoshian Imran Khan and other Bollywood personalities were present on the occasion. Members of tour and travel bodies from various parts of Maharashtra and Gujarat were also present on the occasion.
Advisor to Chief Minister, Prof. Amitabh Mattoo in his speech said the natural beauty of every region of the State is breath-taking which every citizen of the country should come and enjoy.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Secretary, Tourism, Farooq Ahmad Shah also appealed the media and tourism fraternity of Maharashtra to contribute in promoting tourist arrivals to J&K. He said Maharashtra has remained a good friend of Jammu & Kashmir’s tourism industry and hoped that they would continue to do so.