PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday urged people to vote for PAGD allies in the next J&K assembly polls to defeat the BJP and its associates, which, she said, were hampering the case of restoration of the Union Territory’s special status in the apex court.
She also reiterated her call for a peaceful struggle for the restoration of “snatched rights”, saying the August 5, 2019 development was like an earthquake and its aftershocks are still continuing with “this government taking away something on a daily basis from us”.
The PAGD is a coalition of six parties, including the National Conference, PDP and CPI(M), seeking restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under the revoked Article 370 of the Constitution.
The article was revoked by the Narendra Modi government on August 5, 2019, a decision which has been challenged by many parties in the Supreme court. “Whether we stand united or fight separately, you have to vote those who do not betray your vote in the assembly. I request you to take this message to every nook and corner that we have to choose among the PAGD constituents and vote for their candidates,” Mehbooba said addressing a party function at Surankote in Poonch district.
She said attempts are on to divide the people and the interim report of the delimitation commission was part of the process to pit Hindus versus Muslims, Muslims versus Muslims, Gujjars Vs Pahari- speaking people and one versus other.
These attempts are aimed at getting enough seats for the BJP and its people so that they can form the next government in J&K and put a stamp on the August 5, 2019 decision to weaken “our case in the Supreme Court”.
“The talk of an election is premature as the time has not come yet but remember my words. If you do not like PDP (candidate), vote for any other candidate among the PAGD constituent and likewise if the other candidate is not of your liking, vote for the PDP candidate,” she said.
“You have to make a choice among them only and not vote independents or any other candidate,” the former chief minister said.
She said her party or National Conference have not lost anything alone but it is the people of the entire J&K who have been deprived of their rights and they have to fight for the restoration of their “snatched rights”.
Mehbooba said August 5, 2019 was not just a tragedy for the people of Jammu and Kashmir but it struck them like an earthquake.
“An earthquake ends within a few minutes but we are still being hit by aftershocks. They are still snatching from us on a daily basis to finish our identity, culture and traditions. They are forcibly taking away land from the people,” she said.
She said the land which was under the occupation of the people for over a century is being taken away to give it to big industrialists in both Jammu and Kashmir regions and the way the government is working, the day is not far when “our youths will not get a foothold to stand up”.
Mehbooba also criticized the government for the dismissal of state employees on the grounds of supporting militancy and massive raids.
“They are doing everything to break the backbone of the people of J&K. The unemployment is growing with each passing day and deliberate attempts are being made to make people poorer so that they are silenced and are not able to stand up,” she said.
She said they want “dead souls” as it suits their narrative of a peaceful atmosphere in J&K which is, in fact, “the silence of a graveyard”.
“The BJP is behaving like the East India Company and the only difference is that they are from this country. They are selling the national resources at a big loss,” she said, adding “people have to raise their voice in a peaceful manner as Mahatma Gandhi did against the British rule”.
Referring to the delimitation commission draft proposal to merge Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu with Anantnag Lok Sabha seat in Kashmir, Mehbooba said instead of giving a separate seat to the Rajouri and Poonch districts, they merged it with Anantnag Lok Sabha seat to sow the seeds of hatred among the people of Kashmir and this region.
“The PDP founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed built Mughal Road to bring the two districts of Rajouri and Poonch closer to Shopian district of Kashmir. They want to create a wedge as both sides would like to have their own Parliament member to represent them and want us to fight each other. There is no other reason,” she said.
She alleged that they have no pain for the region or Chenab valley. “They wanted to have only one face, one dress and one food. The situation could be worse than this if we do not stand up and fight their onslaught as graveyard type of silence suits them,” she said. Defending her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s decision to form the previous government with the BJP, Mehbooba said, “It was done to protect Article 370, state flag and constitution under a strategy. It took Mufti three months to stitch an alliance with the BJP and the government was formed on our terms.” “After Mufti’s death, we functioned as per our agenda which was not of their taste as they found us an obstacle in their original plan and the rest is history,” she said.