Will strive for JK’s regional federalism: Mufti
PDP Patron Strikes Chord With Displaced KPs In Delhi
New Delhi, Apr 25: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Muhammed Sayeed has said that no one will be able touch the “double citizenship” rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, enjoyed by them by the dint of Article 370, and that he would strive hard to achieve the concept of regional federalism in the state by giving due weightage to all its regions.
Interacting with a select gathering of Kashmiri Pandit community here late Tuesday evening, Sayeed said that it could be achieved only through the active participation of all the stakeholders including the Pandits. He invited them to return to Kashmir. “It is our responsibility to take you back,” he said.
Among those present on the occasion were former Union Minister Makhan Lal Fotedar and noted industrialist and prominent member of the community Vijay Dhar.
Significantly, Mufti sought to allay fears expressed by the community and people outside Kashmir Valley about PDP’s Self-Rule document having separatist tones. Terming it as a comprehensive document, the Mufti said he was prepared to remove any apprehension about its purpose.
Admitting that National Conference (NC) had played a significant role during and after 1947, he rued that the party under the leadership of Sheikh Muhammed Abdullah could not capitalize on its goodwill to settle the Kashmir issue once for all. “The National Conference had a galaxy of leaders from all communities and was in a position to get a referendum done for final settlement of Kashmir. But it was not done,” he observed.
Impliedly hinting that National Conference patron Dr Farooq Abdullah’s “wayward” behavior at crucial junctures was behind Kashmir issue getting murkier, he said that the PDP has been able to provide a democratic alternative and is working to connect the state with the mainstream politics. “My immediate priority is to connect with Jammu and fill the void created by the BJP’s politics of opportunism to provide a mainstream secular opposition to the region,” he further said.
Foreseeing that Jammu and Kashmir will soon emerge as an island of peace, he said that a way will have to be found for the return of the KPs to the Valley without which all efforts in that direction will be incomplete.
The Mufti blamed a “section of establishment in the Government of India” for not encouraging the return of composite culture in Kashmir. In this regard he pointed out as to how his efforts, during his Chief Ministership, to set up joint housing facility for KPs with other community did not find favour with this section.
Dr Sumeer Kaul, spokesperson of the PDP, who had organised the meeting, said that the meet was not about seeking votes but an effort by the Mufti to reach out to the displaced community. He asked his community members to “open their hearts and minds” and actively participate in the peace process rather than becoming “hecklers”.
He asked them to give PDP a chance. “We must introspect as to what did the community get in the past by supporting National Conference and Congress,” he added.
Ramesh Raina, General Secretary All India Kashmiri Pandit Samaj said it was a fact that the politics of separatism was squeezing in Kashmir. But does that mean that the secular space is increasing, he asked adding: “It is yet to get evolved.”
He felt that under the present situation the relevance of KPs is only strategic. The argument of Kashmiriyat got blunted after the exit of Pandits, he said.
Another KP leader Siban Dudha said the regional parties of J&K such as PDP and National Conference should introspect as to where did they go wrong in ignoring the KPs. “ You did so to protect your majority Muslim vote bank,” he felt.
He asked the Mufti as to why during his Chief Ministership he was not able to reverse few distress sales of KP properties as a token of his commitment to J&K migrants. “Why did not you support the passage of Temples and Shrines Bill,” he asked.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 25 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 25 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 26 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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