Kashmir Indepth

BJP running J-K like a colony, experimental lab: Mehbooba

New Delhi, December 7 ( KINS)The ruling BJP is running Jammu and Kashmir like a colony and treating it as a laboratory for experiments to be replicated nationally, People’s Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti said on Tuesday.

Speaking to journalists at Indian Women’s Press Corps a day after staging a protest at Jantar Mantar for restoration of Article 370, Mufti reiterated the PDP stand to contest J&K elections as and when they happen and said she would not contest personally.

“Of course we are going to fight elections. We won’t cede any space to them (BJP). I won’t contest personally until Articles 370 and 35-A are restored,” said Mufti, whose party has kept a distance from the ongoing delimitation exercise in the UT.

The former chief minister of J&K also rued the ongoing political outreach by Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad in Jammu and said, “Ghulam Nabi Azad’s moves will divide the opposition votes and benefit the BJP.”

Evasive on the larger question of opposition disunity with parties like the TMC and Congress pulling in different directions, Mufti said, “Political parties will always have their own agendas. But in J&K the constituents of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration have a common goal which is the restoration of Article 370 and return to the pre August 5, 2019 status. On that demand we are all together.” Mufti also said there had been no outreach by the government since the June 24 meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the mainstream parties of Jammu and Kashmir.

“The onus of a dialogue is on the Centre, not on us. We have nothing to give to the Centre. They have to keep their word,” said Mufti, dismissing the ongoing delimitation exercise in J&K as part of BJP’s larger agenda.

“They want to carve out constituencies to suit their political interests. The very fact that they singled J&K out for delimitation reveals there is an agenda at work. Otherwise why could they not have waited till 2026 to undertake the delimitation exercise? What was the need for such an exercise right now?” asked Mufti, whose party boycotted the commission meetings.

The PDP chief also challenged the government’s narrative that J&K was peaceful and progressing after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019.

“This is a fake narrative. The fact is we feel suffocated. I can’t meet the victims of security personnel atrocities. Doors are locked. I don’t have the freedom to protest. That is why I protested at Jantar Mantar yesterday. The BJP is running J&K with a colonial mindset. J&K has become a lab for them to test whatever has to be done nationally,” said Mehbooba alleging that “Mahatma Gandhi’s India had become Godse’s India”.

The PDP chief also said “big pillars of democracy, media and the judiciary have failed the people of J&K”.

She was referring to petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 pending before the SC for over two years.

Repeating her stand that India and Pakistan need to talk for a solution to the J&K issue, Mehbooba said she had not seen a greater statesman than late PM Atal Behari Vajpayee.

“The Vajpayee book is there. The BJP just needs to open it. Reconciliation and dialogue are the only ways out. Vajpayee ji not only talked to Pakistan, he even visited there even though there was Kargil and Parliament attack,” said the former JK CM.( KINS)

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