Mehbooba Vows Not To Fight Polls Till August Move Reversed

Mehbooba Mufti | KO File Photo

‘There’s So Much Of Oppression In J&K, People Unhappy; Suffocated’

New Delhi: A day after attending all party meet convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President, Mehbooba Mufti said on Friday that people in Jammu and Kashmir are “unhappy and feeling suffocated” and the ground situation is not what the BJP government was portraying to the world.

The former Chief Minister of the erstwhile state said that she was not surprised when PM Modi called the meeting of political leaders of J&K on Thursday, NDTV reported Friday. “There is so much of oppression” in the region, she said, adding that the centre must have realised that things have not gone as they had planned.

According to the report, Mehbooba accused BJP of portraying an opposite situation prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir. The report also quoted her saying that “there is so much of oppression in Jammu and Kashmir that people are unable to even breathe”

When asked why she was invited to the PM’s meeting even though she was blamed for being a militant sympathiser, Mehbooba said that this is something only the Prime Minister or Home Minister would be able to answer.

“They (the centre) have realised that things have not gone as they had planned, and maybe out of little empathy that they had left, they decided to meet us. We went out of respect for the office of the Prime Minister,” she said.

“Do you really believe that if the situation on ground was all hunky-dory, then the centre would have invited the Gupkar alliance for a talk? Things are clearly not how they intended it to be. They know that they need Gupkar to reach out to the people; hence they are now meeting us,” she added.

The PDP President however acknowledged that the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere and the Prime Minister and Home Minister heard what she had to say. She also termed the invitation by the PM as a welcome measure.

“What one can hope for is that when the Prime Minister says Dil ki dooriyaan kam karni hai that he means it,” she said, adding “

The former CM reiterated her vow that she will not contest elections till the government of India reverses August 2019 move and restore Article 370 and Article 35A.

“I will not contest the elections. I will do this because otherwise people will feel that the resolution of Article 370 is just a slogan for me and I am just doing politics over it. That is not the case; hence, I will personally not contest any election till it’s reversed,” she said.

“Article 370 and 35A were a means for us to have job security and also our identity of being from J&K. So, these are important to us. And that is why you must have seen that J&K was India’s most prosperous state,” she added.

Speaking about the fallout of special status revocation, the ex-Chief Minister said that since the day Article 370 and 35A were scrapped, the people fear that the demography will be changed, so the centre needs to address these fears.

“Another thing is that jobs must be secured for the local youth. For confidence-building measures, they need to do much more. They need to release many other prisoners apart from our party leaders,” she said.

“If the siege is lifted, people are not harassed, students and journalists are not harassed, people are not picked up…These confidence-building measures must be undertaken,” she added.

Mehbooba also defended her party’s youth wing president Waheed Para saying that the allegations that he gave Rs5 crore to Geelani’s son to instigate stone-pelting in J&K in 2016, when her government was in power was absurd and nonsense.

Talking about militancy, the PDP president said that though data might suggest that militancy has come down, there is still disquiet in the region.

“When a local youth picks up a gun and then they get killed, the flag on their grave becomes a Pakistani flag. Once militants get killed, they become Pakistani,” she said.

She also pointed out the alleged harassment of journalists by government forces for their reporting.

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