Jammu: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday reiterated that she won’t “contest elections till the Article 370, safeguarding the identity of J&K citizens, was restored.”
She was interacting with media in Rajouri while winding up her 5-day visit to the twin border districts. Mehbooba said that that they (Articles) were “snatched from the people of J&K unjustly, illegally and unconstitutionally.”
“We all have to gear up to get them back,...Hamein Sirf Article 370 Aur 35-A Waapis Hi Nahin Lenay Hain ...Inko Sood Ke Saath Waapis Lena Hai Kyunki Inhein Hamse Churaya Gaya Hai..... (We don’t just have to get them back but will have to fight to make up all losses incurred in the past two years due to their abrogation. This we’ll have to do for the simple reason that they were stolen from us). They have not been taken away from us under any specific law. Rather they impaired even the (spirit of) Constitution of India to snatch them from us,” she alleged.
Former Chief Minister stated that this objective could be achieved only when all the citizens, political parties of J&K were united.
“That is why we exhort the workers of our party, besides all other stakeholders to get united. If we don’t get united to get them back and resolve Kashmir issue, our youth would continue to take up arms and get killed. I heard that Rajouri district, too, witnessed encounters in the recent past and the youth here too picked up arms. This will continue if we don’t gear up to stop it. They are all out to erode the identity of J&K people. My party will continue to fight for it. I, for myself, will like to convey this message loud and clear to all that for me, the restoration of Article 370, 35-A and the resolution of Kashmir issue are not mere slogans. I’m very serious about these issues hence I will not contest (elections) till it is restored,” Mehbooba asserted.
Earlier on Friday she had reiterated that the central government’s haughty claims defending the abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A fell flat.
“They used to claim that the Article 370 was an impediment in the way to J&K’s development. But all such claims proved wrong and people felt cheated. In the garb of this move, people were humiliated, disgraced. Development claims did not match the ground realities. Roads are dilapidated; power scenario is in a real mess. People are disenchanted and are complaining. Unemployment has emerged as the biggest issue. Mufti Sahib had started Rehbar-e-Taleem, Rehbar-e-Sehat and other such schemes to tackle this problem. But presently, the scenario is depressing. No border battalion recruitment is being done. Even the youth with PhD qualification are applying for the post of SPOs in different areas of Poonch. The rate of unemployment in J&K has touched over 18 percent, the highest in the country,” she stated on Friday.
PDP president had maintained that Article 370 was not just the custodian of citizenship rights, identity of J&K citizens but was also the custodian of their lands and jobs.
“Now instead of giving jobs, they are snatching them. Anganwari and other workers have been disengaged. We don’t have a right to protest here – a right available across the country to all sections of people. Whenever they feel like, they detain us, put curbs on our movement. We cannot hold even a silent protest. A feeling of fear and trepidation is prevailing everywhere. Only media-persons can highlight the situation using the might of their pen,” Mehbooba had averred.