‘If Article 370 had solved problem, why are 9 lakh troops in Kashmir’
Srinagar: Former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti Sunday said that Jammu and Kashmir will remain a dream for BJP-led central government unless Article 370 is not restored. She questioned deployment of nine lakh troops in Kashmir when the revocation of special status solved all problems.
Addressing a press conference at her residence here, Mufti accused the centre government of using all the tactics to suppress political parties of Kashmir valley after their participation in the District Development Council (DDC) polls. She said if anyone raises voice, they are being put behind the bars and slapped with stringent laws including UAPA and PSA.
“If we hadn’t participated in DDC elections, BJP would have labelled us anti-nationals. But since we choose to take part in elections, many hurdles and challenges have been thrown at us. We are not allowed to do anything. Our candidates are contesting elections without any campaigning. They have been left confined to their homes under the garb of security reasons,” Mufti said.
Mufti alleged that the BJP government was “murdering the democracy” in the name of DDC polls in Kashmir valley while the top institutions of the country with the duty to check and balance the developments and situation have unfortunately compromised on their integrity and principles.
“No one has the freedom to talk. Opposition has remained mum about the happenings around. It’s only because they know they will be raided by certain agencies and slapped with PSA’s.
“There seems to be no space for real democracy in BJP’s India. It looks like the top institutions of our country including the judiciary are working hand in glove with the ruling party. They are implementing BJP’s agenda in total and remain on the forefront of furthering their agenda,” she added.
“We fail to understand where we should go or turn towards in such a difficult situation when the whole system of democracy has been corrupted. One who talks is inviting the raids of NIA, CBI and ED. This is all what has been trending”, Mufti said.
The former alliance partner of the saffron party in J&K questioned that when BJP leaders brag about the revocation of Article 370 and its benefits, why wasn’t she being allowed to talk about the same issue with the people of Kashmir.
“They’re allowed to say Article 370 won’t come back, and several other things. But, when it comes to me, why do they get rattled when I talk about Article 370? Why am I being told that don’t talk about this issue directly or indirectly,” she questioned.
“I’m being said, that since you’re out of detention, the people have started talking about Article 370. This is due to the reason that you’re provoking the people. Why should I provoke them, when people are out rightly demanding the rollback of Article 370”, she added.
The BJP government, Mufti said, was looking out for a reason to go after her on any pretext after checking her bank accounts since the last two years, raiding the seller of their home and other private loan lending persons. This all is happening due to the reason that she was raising voice against the activities of BJP, she added.
“The democracy has been made a play in Kashmir by the BJP and I believe the same party wants to create their own ecosystem here with the help of its puppets and B teams in Kashmir. That’s apparently the reason that the BJP party is using all its men and efforts in DDC elections,” she added.
About the recently held Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Mayoral elections in which Junaid Azim Mattu was elected again, Mufti said that the polls were held despite the Code of Conduct in force due to the DDC elections. “Municipality elections were held when Code Of Conduct was going on. The Election Commission of India (ECI) acted as a mute spectator.”
About the arrest of PDP youth leader Waheed Ur Rehman Parra by National Investigative Agency (NIA), she said that he was slapped with the UAPA despite remaining the strong votary of dialogue, reconciliation and democracy and deciding to take part in the elections after being put in the detention for fourteen months.
Asked about the high percentage of votes in the first phase of DDC elections, Mehbooba said that elections were not the solution to any problem in Kashmir. “Poll percentage remained good in the past as well but it can’t be the solution to the problem of Kashmir. Kashmir will remain a dream until Article 370 isn’t restored”, she said.
Mehbooba said if India could hold several rounds of talks with China to resolve their conflict, they should hold a dialogue with Pakistan along with the local people of Kashmir.
“Is it about being a Muslim country that they’re not talking with Pakistan. Looks like everything has been left on communal lines. The Sikh is dubbed as a Khalistani. Muslim as a Pakistani and Kashmiri as a terrorist,” she added.
She alleged that under the Roshni and other newly made acts, only the people of Muslim community were targeted in Jammu, while ruing the selective approach of government on eviction drives in certain areas of J&K on the part of tribals.
“If BJP is really concerned about the land grab issues then they should turn to bigwigs first who have occupied large chunks of state land. They shouldn’t go after powerless poor people who have a small chunk of land on which they’re living” she added.