Anantnag: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti Saturday said patriotism could not be thrust on the people by force and highhandedness.
Talking to media persons here, she said only love and empathy could win the hearts of Kashmiris and make them identify with India instead of Pakistan.
Mufti was reacting to the recent arrest of students in Agra on charges of sedition and booking students of Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar and Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for celebrating the victory of the Pakistan cricket team against arch-rival India in the T20 World Cup.
“Since we are now tired of repeatedly telling this to the Centre, I am now addressing the people of our country that nationalistic and patriotic feelings can’t be thrust on the people by using a stick,” she said. Mufti said sports was sports and everyone was entitled to support his or her favourite team or player.
“You can’t force people to choose their favourite team and players at gunpoint. This doesn’t happen anywhere. India is a democratic country and its constitution has given us the right to choose our own favorites in sports,” she said.
Mufti said that arresting youth and booking them under draconian laws in Kashmir and outside on this pretext was only going to deteriorate the situation further.
“Our party activists took a protest march against this but were not allowed to come out the gate. This belies the claims of the government that everything is normal here,” she said.