SRINAGAR PDP president Mehbooba Mufti alleged on Sunday that the Gujjar and Bakerwal communities were being “selectively targeted” in the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir and warned that if the issue was not addressed by the Governor S P Malik-led administration, the consequences would be “dangerous”.
“Unfortunately, under the governor’s nose, there is selective targeting of Gujjars and Bakerwals in Jammu and the governor’s administration is not taking note of it,” Mehbooba told a press conference here.
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said she had raised the matter with the governor after some houses of Gujjars and Bakerwals were “selectively” served eviction notices in the name of encroachment, immediately after the PDP-BJP government in the state collapsed in June last year.
“The governor gave me an assurance that those (houses) will not be touched, especially in the winter months. (But) they are being harassed in the name of encroachment and also in the name of bovine smuggling,” she said.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president also alleged that the Muslims living in the Jammu region were being threatened of a 1947-like situation, when communal riots had taken place.
“The rates of the areas where Muslims live are being increased. Muslim areas are being brought under the municipality so that construction (of houses) is made difficult.
“Similarly, Muslims living in Jammu are being threatened of a 1947-like situation. There are some fanatic elements who are organising programmes to threaten Muslims, especially those from the Gujjar and Bakerwal communities, who are the oldest residents of the Jammu region,” she said.
Stating that the Muslims of Jammu were feeling vulnerable, Mehbooba said she had hoped that after the governor’s assurance, such things would stop.
“If the governor’s administration does not handle the fragile situation, then its consequences would be dangerous for the state,” she added.
Without naming anyone, Mehbooba said there were some powers in Jammu that were trying to instill a sense of fear among the minorities — like in the case of alleged rape of a minor Bakerwal girl in Kathua last year.
Asked about the governor’s recent remarks that except the PDP, all other parties were ready for Assembly polls in the state, Mehbooba said “we are ready for elections anytime”.
Responding to a question on Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national general secretary Ram Madhav’s statement that the saffron party had identified places for separate townships for Kashmiri Pandits, the PDP chief said her party would not allow “ghettoisation of minorities” in the state. (PTI)
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