Srinagar: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday claimed that a major reason to break her party’s alliance with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2018 was she did not accept the pact about the refusal of handing over of bodies of slain militants to their families for last rites, and a major crackdown on Jamaat-e-Islami in J&K.
The PDP chief also said that closing doors for the All Parties Delegation (APD) from Indian government by the Hurriyat leaders set a bad precedent about Kashmiris across the country.
She said PDP will continue to vouch for the resolution of Kashmir issue through dialogue between India and Pakistan.
Addressing her party workers and District Development Council (DDC) election winners at PDP headquarters in Srinagar, the PDP chief said that late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed had joined hands with BJP only to “cage a jinn” in a bottle so that Article 370 would not be touched. “It was after an agreement between PDP and BJP that Article 370 won’t be touched, historic roads will be opened and dialogue with Hurriyat leaders and Pakistan would be held. That was the Agenda of Alliance,” she said.
However, Mehbooba said, the alliance crumbled after she was told by the BJP to sign a pact that read: “Militant bodies of (locals, foreigners) won’t be handed over to their families for last rites and a crackdown will be launched on Jamaat-e-Islami across Kashmir.”
“I refused to agree to this plan which led to the fall of PDP-BJP alliance in J&K,” she claimed. She said that while PDP was in alliance with BJP, a “golden opportunity” was lost when Hurriyat leaders shut their doors for the APD delegation. “This set a bad precedent about Kashmiris across India,” she said, adding that after that, another “opportunity” was lost by not responding to the repeated offers of Home Minister of India who stated, “My doors are open for everyone.”
The PDP chief, while felicitating the DDC candidates who recently won from various seats across Kashmir, stated that “BJP had written PDP’s obituary” but the recent council elections proved that PDP is a workers’ party rather a movement on the ground.
“I recall what my father used to say about workers. He would always say workers are like his eyes. I believe the same. Today, PDP is alive yet again and that is because of workers. This happened even though big leaders left our party but they lost in their own constituencies as our workers stood with us firmly,” she said.
The PDP chief, while training her guns at BJP led government in New Delhi, said that history is witness whenever any party comes to power, it invites other smaller parties to join them to run the governance but “we are seeing a reversal of everything.”
“BJP made country’s top agencies including NIA, ED and CBI its partners only to suppress people and intimidate them,” she alleged.
She said that in the past two months, there is hardly any worker who was not intimidated, threatened, warned and now “DDC winners are being blackmailed to join other parties.”
“A person who was caught along with three guns in his car was let go and his case was withdrawn as he became BJP’s proxy,” said Mehbooba, adding that on the contrary, PDP youth leader Waheed Para, who made hundreds of youth join PDP was put behind the bars by NIA. “Waheed is the same youth who brought 6000 youth to former Home Minister of India’s rally in Kashmir. Despite court orders, he wasn’t allowed to take oath in jail. How can he be linked with militants as he was working to bring youth towards the mainstream?”
The PDP chief said that her party will continue to press for the resolution of Kashmir issue through dialogue with Hurriyat and Pakistan. “We do not say we will resolve the Kashmir issue but we have a role. We will not allow Kashmir to be a battle-ground but a bridge of peace between India and Pakistan. We do not say anything new but what Atal Bihari Vajpayee did. We demand the opening of our traditional routes too,” she said.
Accusing the BJP led regime of choking Kashmir’s economy and tarnishing J&K’s constitution by scrapping Article 370, Mehbooba said: “We will fight for our rights. We are not the ones who would raise white flags. No matter how far BJP goes in choking Kashmir economy and making us dependent on all fronts, we will not bow.” (KNO)