New Delhi will regret scrapping J&K's special status, says Mehbooba Mufti

Mehbooba Mufti while addressing the party workers In Jammu on Friday. Photo: Mir Imran / GK

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and Peoples Democratic party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti on Friday said the Government of India will regret scrapping Article 370 and that one day they will restore the special status of the erstwhile state.

“Time will come when they will restore not only Art 370 and 35A, but they will also ask the people of J&K what else they want from us (GoI) besides special status,” Mufti said while addressing the party workers for the first time in Jammu after her release from detention.

The PDP office was fortified by a strong contingent of police and entries were allowed only after searching the visitors. The police had laid rolls of barbed wires outside the party office to prevent anti-PDP protests.

The enthusiasm among the PDP leaders and workers of Jammu region was visible as they patiently listened to Mufti’s speech.

“Mark my words. I do not know about the situation since it is unpredictable in Kashmir. However, they (indirectly referring to BJP) will not remain in power forever. Whosoever will be in power in Delhi, they will regret their acts in J&K and they will also admit that they had misused the constitution (of India),” said Mufti amid applause by the workers.

“That day, they will tell us what you want from us (GoI) besides special status,” Mehbooba Mufti said, sounding confident. “You will witness that,” she told the party workers.

She said: “I am hopeful that you will not leave this struggle midway. We all will fight it out together for the pride of Dogras and Kashmiris, which has been snatched like dacoits from us during a midnight decision. And, in the morning, our rights were snatched.”

She said the Parliament had no such powers to scrap special status of Jammu and Kashmir “because the constitution is bigger than parliament.”

“No one can digest things which are received through burglary. They will have to return (special status and statehood) with compound interest to J&K,” said Mufti, triggering applause from the workers.

JAMMU PDP INSPIRED KASHMIRI LEADERS

The protest held by the party workers in Jammu inspired their counterparts in Srinagar, said Mufti. “However, they did not allow us to come out of the PDP office in Srinagar. They (Govt) fear from the PDP and that not even a peaceful protest is allowed to take place. What is the fear from PDP? Why are we not being allowed to hold peaceful protests when you claim in the entire world that the situation is peaceful?” she asked.

They told the PDP youth leaders in Srinagar to sign a bond that “you will not do it again then they will quash the case. What is the case? This country will be run as per the constitution of India not the agenda of BJP,” said Mufti.

“If it runs with the BJP’s agenda, the country will not remain a country. J&K had joined the Union of India because it was a secular country (where people from different communities lived in peace) and if you hurt the basic structure (secularism) of the nation, it will break relations in the society,” she added.  

IT IS NOT RELIGIOUS WAR, IT IS WAR OF VOTES & POWER

“It is not a religious war. It is a war of votes and power. Tell us China had martyred 20 soldiers in Ladakh border and Modi Govt does not speak a single word in Bihar election campaigns. You ask them (Biharis) to buy land in J&K. However, first provide them homes and jobs in Bihar and then tell them about J&K,” she said.

Mufti added: “They want to destroy Jammu by making it a battlefield of ‘religious war’. We have formed an alliance (People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration) to get back what was assured to us by the Indian Constitution, not from China or Pakistan.”

DEFENDS FAROOQ ABDULLAH

They term NC President and Member Parliament Farooq Abdullah as anti-national. “No one else is more secular than Farooq Abdullah who keeps the communities united. If you have to show power, then show it to China, instead of the people of J&K,” Mufti dared the BJP.   

“I was worried when I was Chief Minister of J&K (during PDP-BJP alliance Govt). We were not able to make the people of Kashmir understand why late Mufti Mohammed Sayeed entered into an alliance with the BJP instead of the Congress Party,” she said.

She said: “Its main reason was the tenure of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in which policies like opening of cross border routes, talks with separatists and Pakistan were held. In this backdrop, Mufti Sayeed wanted to take further the legacy of Vajpayee.”

For the sake of power, she said the BJP had agreed that they will not touch Article 370, return two power projects to J&K, and open Sialkot-Jammu and other routes.

“(They thought) I was soft towards Kashmir and will not be able to control the situation in the Valley. They wanted me to control situations like what they did today in J&K. They expected from me to ban Jamaat-e-Islami, send underage boys to Uttar Pradesh-Bihar jails, do not allow anyone to speak, and bury militants in unidentified places,” she said.

“You cannot do such things with your enemies, how can you do it with your own people. When Rasana (minor’s gangrape) and other things happened, they had to run away because they had no courage to face the circumstances. If they had courage, they should have touched Art 370 that time. When Art 35-A was challenged in the court, I had categorically told them that if Art 35-A is touched, I will resign as Chief Minister and the Government will fall.”

DOGRAS and KASHMIRIS WILL BECOME RARE IN J&K

Mufti said that a time will come when Dogras and Kashmiris will become rare in J&K. “Now they claim to end unemployment in J&K whereas Haryana State has passed a law reserving 75 percent jobs for locals like in Madhya Pradesh. A situation will come when Dogras will become rare in Jammu and Kashmiri in Kashmir,” said Mufti.

“People have been pressured in J&K like a pressure cooker. If the pressure cooker bursts, it will burn down the whole house,” said Mufti.