Srinagar: Muslims of tribal communities have been facing hostility in Jammu region from various “fanatic elements”, said PDP chief and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday, asking the Governor’s administration to take action against such elements.
“Muslims especially those belonging to Gujjar and Bakerwal community are being selectively targeted in Jammu by some fanatic elements,” she told reporters here.
Mehbooba said that selective eviction notices were served to 33 nomadic families in Jammu after her government fell.
“Cruelty is meted out to Gujjar and other marginalised Muslim families in the name of anti-encroachment drive in Jammu. All this despite existing directives issued by my government in February 2018, whereby no tribal community should be disturbed or dislocated till the time the state government can formulate a tribal policy,” she said.
She said that Muslims of Jammu were being openly threatened by senior members of extremist and communally motivated groups.
“Campaigns such as “Ekjut Jammu Maha Adhiveshan (United Jammu)” are being organised that reportedly talk about dangers posed to people of Jammu from the growth of Muslim colonies, and how this is a concerted effort to change demography. These are reflective of the mindset of the perpetrators of such bigotry,” Mehbooba said.
“These extremist elements have created fear among fresh settlers by physically targeting individuals in isolated incidents so that they don’t plan permanent settling in Jammu. This is what they have done during the past as well,” she said.
Mehbooba said that the tribal population was the most marginalised even though they had stayed most loyal so far. However, she said, they were facing threats and harassment on daily basis in the name of encroachment drives and bovine smuggling.
“This is happening under the nose of the Governor’s administration, which is unfortunate,” she said.
Addressing the media at her residence in Gupkar, she urged the Governor to take note of the harassment being faced by the tribal population.
“I took up this matter with the Governor, who assured action. But everything is happening under his nose. He should act, otherwise the fragile situation will become serious,” Mehbooba said.
She warned the government that giving in to communal designs would be playing with fire. “Any tinkering with the minorities in Jammu will have a cascading effect in Kashmir, and the situation can go out of control. The governor’s administration must, therefore, be cautious in dealing with this matter,” she said.
While supporting divisional status to Ladakh, she demanded similar status for Pir Panjal region in Jammu.
The PDP chief also batted for special status to the Pahari community.
Explaining her earlier alliance with the BJP, Mehbooba said she did it for the safety of Muslim community in Jammu, especially Gujjars.