Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti Sunday claimed that she "never compromised her position" on Kashmir while her Peoples Democratic Party was in alliance with the BharaityaJanata Party in the state.
Addressing a workers' convention in Inderkote village inSumbal, Bandipora, the PDP president said: "It was not easy for us to form thegovernment with the BJP. It was like taking poison, but we did it only forKashmiris and late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed asked the BJP to first formulate the'agenda of alliance' before formalising the tie-up".
"When Mufti Sayeed joined hands with the BJP, he took twomonths to sign the 'agenda of alliance' and only then he formed the governmentin the state with the support of BJP. He later addressed a press conferencewhere he thanked Pakistan and the separatist leadership for not interfering inthe elections, which is true," Mehbooba said.
She said the entire India "went against Mufti Sayeed, but hedidn't change his stance because he thought that as long as relations withPakistan won't be good, the situation in Kashmir will not get better".
"In the 'agenda of alliance', it was written that out ofseven power projects, two have to be given back to the state, whileKargil-Skardu, Jammu-Sialkot and all other (traditional) roads connecting Jammuand Kashmir with other countries have to be opened. When all these things wereagreed upon by the BJP in the 'agenda of alliance', only then Mufti Sayeedformed the government with them," she said.
"When Mufti Sayeed left this world, it all came down to meand I tried not to compromise on anything, but the BJP was not ready. Wewithdrew cases of 12,000 youth. The BJP was not ready. We announced a ceasefirefor the month of Ramzaan. People heaved a sigh of relief for that month, butthe militants didn't respond well".
"We appointed Dineshwar Sharma for holding a dialogue withthe Hurriyat leadership. Even home minister himself agreed for a dialogue, butthe Hurriyat leaders closed their doors. We firmly believed that as long asJ&K's ties with Pakistan won't get better, the Hurriyat would never agreefor a dialogue. That is why I had been telling the Prime Minister NarendraModithat as long as he doesn't make ties better with Pakistan, the Hurriyat won'tagree for dialogue".
Mehbooba said that even former prime minister lateAtalBihari Vajpayee had said that as long as they don't have a dialogue withPakistan and the Hurriyat, Kashmir issue cannot be resolved.
"I never compromised my position. I made two BJP ministersto resign when the Kathua rape case happened. I made every effort to protect the Article 35-A. I even told the PM andthe home minister that if they tinker with Article 35-A, I will pull out of thealliance. Not only this, I even told them that if they try to abolish it,nobody in Kashmir would give a shoulder to the tricolor," she said.
Mehbooba said she reminded the BJP yesterday also about herparty's position on Article 370 when ArunJaitley said that the Article is a"hindrance" in J&K's development.
"The Article is not a hindrance but a bridge and if they tryto break it, we too—who have held Indian flag in our hands in Kashmir—mighthave to think what to do and where to go," she said.
"Separatists have nothing to do with Article 370, they want freedom. They don't accept the constitution but the parties which accept the constitution—be it PDP or NC—have to rethink if the BJP tries to tinker with Article 370. We will have to think then what relation we have with this country.
We have been given this Article by the Indian constitution and if they want to tinker with it, then nothing would remain (between J&K and Delhi)". "We take the oath first by the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and then by the Indian constitution, but when they (BJP) will sacrifice our constitution, what will we have to do with the Indian constitution then? So we should get united to save our special status".
Meanwhile, quoting Mehbooba, a PDP spokesperson said in astatement: "The undemocratic measures taken by the central government arepushing the people of the state into a corner. The government of India muststop this muscular policy and understand that dialogue is the only wayforward".
"It was the agenda of the PDP founder Mufti Muhammad Sayeedthat accorded a sigh of relief to the people of the state after the 2002elections," Mehbooba said, according to the statement, while addressingworkers' conventions in Pattan and Sonawari.
"Prior to that, dialogue with Pakistan, reconciliatory approach and pitching for peace used to be considered as a taboo within the political landscape. It was Mufti Sayeed who initiated an era of reconciliation in Jammu and Kashmir and laid foundation of the ideology that declares that the state must become a bridge of friendship between India and Pakistan," she said. "The previous coalition of the PDP and BJP was dictated by the numbers of the election results in which both the parties were at par and forming coalition was a brave attempt to engage with the 'New India' which is dominated by the Hindutva forces.
The PDP successfully resisted for four long years the policies of the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir and it has now become visible how the BJP is trying to divide the state, divide communities and undermine the vital institutions of the state," Mehbooba said, according to the statement. "One could imagine at present what havoc would the BJP have created if it would have been left alone after the 2014 polls".
"The PDP president also expressed serious concern over theprevailing situation in the state and said that the repressive measures andiron-fist approach are being rigorously implemented, with common massesthreatened, intimated and harassed by the government at large," the PDPstatement read, adding: "PDP's stand vis-à-vis banning the socio-political andreligious organisationJamaat-e- Islami is that it is an undemocratic andunconstitutional measure and an attempt to hurt the religious sentiments ofMuslims".
Addressing the gatherings, senior PDP leader and formerminister Mehboob Beg said that "when there was no presence of BJP in 1996 inJammu and Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah with 60 MLAs aligned unnecessarily with theBJP with a sole objective to secure a junior ministerial berth for his son"."After Dr Farooq joined hands with the BJP, he gave away whatever was left ofstate's economic prospects in the shape of power projects to the Centre. Farooq Abdullah consolidated forces ofofficial terror and patronised and promoted them while making BJP 'halal' inKashmir politics," the statement read.