Srinagar, Jun 21: Stating that the 2016 uprising was not a revolt of people against PDP-BJP alliance, senior PDP leader said that unrest was part of protests for resolution of Kashmir issue.
“I don’t agree with this view that the agitation in 2016 erupted because of the PDP’s alliance with BJP. There was no PDP-BJP alliance in 2010 when situation was similar to 2016; it was National Conference and Congress coalition,” Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs and Information, Choudhary Zulfikar Ali told The Kashmir Magazine in an interview.
“Jammu and Kashmir is a sensitive issue and many movements have broken out since 1947. Sometimes there are gun movements and sometimes public uprisings; such things have been going on and on and the state has seen many such different phases. The agitation and unrest in 2016 was part of another phases and had nothing to do with PDP-BJP alliance,” Zulfikar said.
“My understanding is that the agitation in 2016 was related to the Kashmir issue. Jammu and Kashmir is a sensitive issue and it has no readymade solutions. I think Government of India should take a serious notice of the issue for its resolution.”
He said PDP’s agenda is fixed. “Development and resolution through dialogue should go together. We are firm and committed with our party’s agenda.”
Zulfkar, who was recently allotted the Information minister by the Chief Minister, said there are lot of challenges and priorities in the department. “
“I think the department has not got the attention it needed over the years. My focus will be to give more importance to its upliftment. Be it the accreditation of journalists, advertisement policy, press colony, press club and welfare fund for working journalists; such issues have not be given due attention to. I am working with the department, and my initial efforts have been to give proper accommodation, respect to working journalists,” he said.
On the resentment among newspapers owners over government advertisement distribution, the minister said the department will adopt a uniform and fair system of advertisement for newspapers so that nobody has any complaint about discrimination or favouritism.
“No newspaper is big or small before us. What matters is the circulation, reach out of the newspapers. Our news is a product for us, we will try to sell it as far as we could. We pay newspapers for publishing advertisements and my priority should be that our information reaches as far as possible. The department has formed a transparent advertisement policy in 2016, and we will make sure that the distribution of advertisement to newspapers is based on the policy in fair and transparent manner,” he said.
Denying the speculation and reports that Muslims in Jammu region are feeling insecure because of BJP, the minister said they are feeling certain and secure with the alliance.
“The alliance was formed after the people gave the mandate to PDP and BJP in Kashmir and Jammu, respectively. No party among the two could have afforded to form a government alone in the state, so the alliance was formed as per the mandate of the people. We had to take think of taking minorities and other sections in Jammu along. Last year (2016), despite provocations you could have seen how fundamentalists and communal people did not react. So this alliance has given stability to the region and the state, particularly to the minorities of Jammu region,” he said. (KNS)