‘Road belongs to Kashmir, not to GoI
BUDGAM: Former J&K chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday urged people to defy the government’s ban on civilian traffic on the national highway, as she herself had done, she told them.
“Delhi has ordered the people of Kashmir not to walk on the national highway on Sunday and Wednesday,” she said addressing a PDP rally in Warihama area of Budgam. “But I have personally defied the ban today when I, along with my party workers, came out on the highway and held a protest against the decision of the government,” she said.
Mehbooba said the road belonged to Kashmir, not to the Government of India. “If the Government of India thinks that they can suppress the people of Kashmir by such acts, they are wrong,” she said, and promised that her party will go to court to have the ban revoked.
Defending her unpopular alliance with the BJP, she said that the worst situation in Kashmir was in 1999 under the National Conference (NC) government, which brought draconian laws like POTA and created the government-sponsored militia, Ikhwan.
“However, after Mufti Mohammad Sayeed came to power in 2002-03, all draconian laws were revoked, dialogue was held with Pakistan and with the Hurriyat, and people breathed a sigh of relief,” she said, adding that subsequent governments of other parties again spoiled the situation.
Continuing to attack her rival, the NC, she said, “Besides bringing NIA in Kashmir and giving seven power projects to the Government of India, without any permission from the state assembly, they also forced youths to pick up guns and stones in their hands.”
She said that her father allied with the BJP to fulfil his dream of getting people out of their trauma. She said she also put certain preconditions before making the alliance with the BJP. “I was insisting to them (BJP) not to revoke Article 370, to revoke AFSPA, and to continue the ceasefire (on the border with Pakistan). It was that which created conflict between us (PDP and BJP). PDP was also demanding the dropping of two ministers over the Rasana case (Kathua rape and murder case). That, along with the decision we took to drop police cases against 12,000 youths, was the reason why the coalition government collapsed,” she said.
Speaking on the BJP’s threats to abrogate Article 35A and Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, she said that any tampering with them would have grave ramifications.
“If you break that bridge, then you will have to renegotiate the relationship between India and Jammu & Kashmir,” she said. “People would be forced to think whether they even want to be with India or not,” she added.