Mehbooba Questions Govt’s ‘Crackdown’ On Schools

Urges Youth To Shun Path Of Militancy

Srinagar- Following the government’s decision to close private schools operating on the ‘state land’, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president, Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday questioned the administration for the crackdown on educational institutes saying that the decision will sabotage careers of thousands of students, teachers and Kashmir.

“Since abrogation of Article 370, J&K Government has introduced several diktats that have disempowered J&K and its people. The biggest attack has been on our identity. Our Jobs and Land have been literally put up for sale. The First preference is given to non-locals and second, to industrialists. Why hasn’t the Government set up any industry in Kashmir despite boasting about developing Kashmir post 2019,” Mehbooba said.

The former Chief Minister noted that the administration’s decision to close private schools operating on state land is another attempt to sabotage Kashmir’s future.

“Earlier they banned FAT affiliated schools and now this new decision is another form of atrocity inflicted on people of J&K to destroy their future. The Government has banned FAT schools raising objections that it was an affiliate of Jamaat-e-Islami but I want to ask if Jamaat is any criminal organisation. Do they carry arms, Trishuls or any other weapon to threaten peace?” Mehbooba said.

The PDP President further added that the administration is brazenly transferring J&Ks grazing land to security forces. “And now they’ve come for our educational institutions.”

She also underlined the need to get united and “resist” , alleging there was “a danger that they will try to erase and take away our rights akin to what Israel did to Gaza”.

“Unless we get united and resist, there is a danger that they will try to do much worse to us than what Israel did in Gaza,” she said.

She added that the Centre was making tall claims across the world that everything is fine in J&K after Article 370 was abrogated, but the ground situation has not improved.
“If everything is normal in Kashmir then the Government should tell us about the whereabouts of our children who have been detained by agencies,” The PDP leader noted.

About the Kashmiri pandit protesting relocation outside the Valley, she said that the Government is ignoring their demands. “In my tenure as a CM, no pandit was killed but we still paid salaries to KP employees who had their apprehensions in joining offices. But, this government is barely paying heed to the pleas of the protesting employees,” Mufti said

She also appealed to religious leaders to intervene to stop attacks against Kashmiri Pandits. “We need to tell the society that Pandits are our assets. We should not allow attacks on them. The BJP uses them only for meeting their political ends,” she said.

Commenting on the active militancy in Kashmir, PDP president noted that the local recruitment is increasing at a rapid pace. “Everyday there’s news about the killing of 2-3 local militants. This means local recruitment is increasing rapidly. I just want to request these young boys to leave arms as they’re the future of Kashmir. Today, we need their support more than ever,” Mehbooba said, adding that the Government has fortified Yatra in such a vicious manner that it gives a perception that Yatris are coming to Kashmir for the first time.

Ms. Mufti also appealed to parents to stop their wards from picking up arms . “Killing a youth means promotion and incentives for them (security forces). We need youth for the future. Time has come to shun guns,” she added.

Mehbooba also said that the agencies should take notice of the corruption going on in Kashmir. “There are people who come to J&K and go back taking suitcases filled with money. What is that?” she asked.

When asked about the Agnipath scheme, the PDP president said that it is not an honorable thing to happen for the army. “This was Savarkar’s idea to train RSS workers who could be more brutal in their dealings against the minorities,” Mehbooba Mufti said.

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Zaid Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir

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