'Naya Kashmir' That Is Being Advertised Is Not Reality: Mehbooba

File Photo Of Mehbooba Mufti

New Delhi- PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday accused the Centre of projecting Jammu and Kashmir as "peaceful" whereas the fact was that blood was being spilled on its roads and people were being slapped with anti-terror laws for expressing their opinion.

Speaking at the Aaj Tak Summit here about "Naya Kashmir", Mehbooba, a former chief minister, said her late father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed had tied up with the BJP in 2014 only because he wanted to usher in a new regime of peace in the state.

"My father had seen a statesman like Atal Bihari Vajpayee earlier and he had hoped that the new regime of BJP will work on the same ideology," she said.

She questioned the use of the term "Naya Kashmir" and said "the new Kashmir that is being advertised is not the reality. Today an 18-month-old girl is sitting in a protest to get the body of her father who was killed by security forces."

"Today, a Kashmiri Pandit was killed in broad daylight. The road is covered with the blood of a Bihari man and we call it Naya Kashmir? Is this what we anticipated from the word 'Naya Kashmir'? Everywhere the situation is projected to be better, then why are the number of paramilitary forces increased, fresh bunkers built," she asked.

She also targeted the central government.

"Forget 'Naya Kashmir' and let us talk about 'Naya Hindustan'.... In Naya Hindustan, anyone talking about the Constitution is labelled as 'tukde tukde gang', minorities irrespective of being a roadside vendor or a film star are socially and economically outcast, farmers demanding repeal (of farm laws) are labelled as Khalistani and booked under UAPA.

"This may be the Naya Hindustan but it does not belong to my (Mahatma) Gandhi. This seems to be an India of (Nathuram) Godse and what they are making is Godse ka Kashmir where people are not allowed to talk and even, I am detained in house for at least two days in a week," she said.

She said Kashmiris embraced the national tricolour in 1947 when they joined India. "But if it was today's regime at the helm of affairs then, I am afraid the results would have been different," she said.

To a question as to what difference did the abrogation of Article 370 make, she said, "We have been betrayed first and foremost. If this was a guarantee, why was it (abrogation) done. There are many states who do not allow outsiders to buy land or ensure employment for their own people. If there is no problem with that, then why single out only Kashmir."

She warned that whatever is happening in Kashmir can be replicated in the rest of the country. "If today anyone thinks that he or she won't be affected by these kinds of laws, then let me remind you that Kashmir is a laboratory for them. UAPA (Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act) was abused first in Kashmir and now it is being followed in the rest of the country. Similarly giving extra powers to BSF," she said.

The Union government recently amended the BSF Act empowering the border guarding force to undertake search, seizure and arrest within a 50 km stretch, up from the existing 15 km, from the international border in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam.

She said the Centre should begin the political process in Jammu and Kashmir at the earliest and initiate a dialogue process, and added that she was not against the security forces. "In fact, it is the hard work of security forces that we have achieved the kind of peace where we could hold elections. However, the politicians should not use the shoulder of security forces to aim at innocent people," she said.

To a question on the Gupkar Alliance, she said it is a coalition of parties for the just cause of Jammu and Kashmir.

"If PDP and BJP, which were the North Pole and the South Pole, could come together, why not National Conference and PDP? Moreover, we have not decided on the electoral process yet...because elections are not on priority for Mehbooba Mufti," she said.

The People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) is a coalition of seven political parties, including the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

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