Pitches for united forum of all political groups to defend state’s special status, says election least priority at present
Srinagar, Feb 25: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President and Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday urged all political groups of the state to come together and devise a joint strategy to safeguard Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
Addressing a press conference here at her residence, Mehbooba said that Jammu and Kashmir is India’s only Muslim majority state which acceded to India under certain a condition and that condition was Article 370. “Article 35-A is part of Article 370 which confers certain rights to citizens of the state. By launching assault on Article 35-A, there are attempts being made to change the Muslim Majority character of Jammu and Kashmir,” Mehbooba said.
She added that those who demand that Jammu and Kashmir’s special status should be scrapped must understand that that the relation between JK and India is based on Article 370. If this special status is scarped, it will nullify the legitimacy of accession of JK with the Indian Union, Mehbooba said.
The PDP President also made a fervent appeal to all political groups to rise above party affiliations and considerations and safeguard interests of the state in unison. She said that she is in contact with national conference Vice President Omar Abdullah and soon a joint strategy will be adopted to protect state’s special status from assaults being launched against it on multiple fronts.
Mehbooba also underscored the need of establishing a joint front of all regional political parties and appealed CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami, Hakeem Mohammad Yasin, Ghulam Hassan Mir, Engineer Abdul Rashid and others to joint the unanimous fight for the safeguard of Article 35-A.
She maintained that at the present time not elections but protection of Jammu and Kashmir’s interests and unique identity is a priority for the PDP as well as for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. “I want caution the central government that they shouldn’t play with the fire and push people of Kashmir towards war. If Article 35-A is gone, I reiterate that there wouldn’t be anyone in the state to hold the tri-colour. The situation which will be much more dangerous than what we have been witnessing since 1947,” said the PDP President.
She maintained further that it is unfortunate that the state is made part of election strategy every time there are elections in the country. “Ahead of 2014 elections, Afzal Guru was hanged and the court pronounced the verdict as satisfying the collective conscience of the country. At present, there are attempts being made to destabilise the situation in the state and create a war hysteria to secure votes,” Mehbooba said.
She also questioned the creation of war like situation in the state by the government and stated that the chaos and confusion is being created without any reason. “In 2016, when Uri attack happened, I was put under pressure to launch a crackdown against separatists and religious leaders in Kashmir and create war like situation. I opposed such a directive and didn’t want any such thing to happen. At present, it is condemnable that people from various religious organisations are being bundled in jails and nocturnal raids becoming a routine,” said PDP President.
Mehbooba also slammed the decision of withdrawing the security of separatists and other political leaders in the state, terming such action nothing but a vendetta against those who dare to question and oppose the government policies.