Jammu, April 29: Former Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti on Friday said that there was no alternative to dialogue with regard to the Kashmir issue.
“The dialogue is the only way forward (indirectly referring to Kashmir) on the basis of the roadmap given by Former Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee with the Former Chief Minister of J&K, late Mufti Muhammed Sayeed as there is no alternative to it whether they like it or not,” responded Mehbooba Mufti while speaking to journalists here before leaving for Srinagar.
Mufti said that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi also praised the Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for his vision.
“In a museum, they (government) have written that Vajpayee ji had started the peace process in J&K. It should not have been written if they acknowledge the biggest achievement of Vajpayee with regard to the peace process in reference to J & K rather than what they are doing themselves,” Mehbooba said while adding that there is no other option than dialogue to end the issues on Kashmir.
To support her claims, she said that Kashmir was an issue even before the United Nations and also referred to the Lahore and Shimla agreements with Pakistan.
“Unless, we win the confidence of the people, till then the neighbouring country (Pakistan) will continue to speak (on Kashmir issues),” she said and again stressed on holding of dialogues which were held despite Kargil war and Parliament attack even during Vajpayee time. “The dialogue never stopped,” she added.
When asked about her response to the recent suicide attacker’s encounter in Sunjwan and recovery of explosives on Sidhra road, Mehbooba Mufti said that “What security forces are doing if such militancy related incidents occur in Jammu. Are they not able to handle 100-150 militants? Then what are we doing?”
“Here our people are facing problems due to the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA). You can detain anyone you know about what happened regarding Shopian and HMT and other places,” she said in reaction to the questions of journalists.
She further said that “If we have given enough powers to the security forces to deal with the situation with forces even then Sunjwan like incidents and PRIs get killed, then we must see if there is weakness within us.” “We may be failing to deal with 150 to 200 militants. We should also look inside,” she further raised the question while responding to Sunjwan encounter.
She further said that you cannot punish all the people of Jammu and Kashmir because some people (militants) have taken up arms. The PM in his recent address referred to grass root democracy etc. However, the people are being caught in a catch-22 situation, she said.
“Do you know how PRIs are kept in security cover? They are allegedly not allowed to go to their homes. They cannot come out of the security zones. They are also not allowed to go out on Eid festival even,” she said.
Responding to a question, she said that: “They want to erode the existence of J&K which is a Muslim majority state following the revocation of Article 370 in an unconstitutional manner. Hence, they are trying to weaken J&K in all aspects.”
She alleged that day by day; the Centre’s “sinister designs have become very clear to people”. In this situation, their (Kashmir based political parties) coming together under PAGD for a big motive to fight the onslaught and elections are part of it.
She further said that the land laws have been made weaker in comparison to other states in Jammu and Kashmir and the stamp duty has been reduced to 50%. “ This is because they want to sell the land of J&K so that a time comes for the (local) people that they do not find land in future,” she added.
She further said that on the one hand, they have not been able to give jobs in the country and on the other J&K’s jobs were being offered to the outsiders. “Similarly, contracts of AIIMS, natural resources i.e., sand-bajri, PHE, PDD and in some central sponsored schemes have allegedly been given to the outsiders,”
She said that PDP was criticised for demanding power projects but had the power projects been with J&K, we would not have faced the power crises in Jammu nor in Kashmir.
“J&K would have stability with regard to electricity which could have been used in the industrial sector as well as supplied to other states in the country,” she added.
Answering questions of “bulldozer politics”, Mehbooba Mufti said that India’s foundation was based on secularism which is in the DNA of the people of the country despite attempts being made to break secularism by the BJP like in Karnataka.
Under this design, she said that Jamia Masjid of Srinagar was not opened for worshipers for Shab-e-Qadr and Jumat-ul-Vida prayers.
"Unfortunately, they are separating people on communal lines and arming them in the name of religion like it is being done in the neighbouring country." she said
She claimed that the government cannot give jobs and hence, they speak about loudspeakers, hijab, beard etc controversial issues which are unfortunate, she said and added that “if we continue to follow the line of (Pakistan), we would have difficult times ahead by targeting minorities.”
She further said that: “ Houses of minorities are being bulldozed and it seems to be a series of attempts to divide the society and give thrill to the followers (of the right wing party) as they fail to address basic issues of the people and employment. Hence, issues being communalized.”