Centre disrespecting Constitution: Mehbooba
Srinagar: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday asserted that the Gupkar alliance was striving to achieve the restoration of special status of Jammu and Kashmir “within the Constitution of the country”.
She also criticised the BJP-led central government over the three agri laws which have triggered protests by a section of farmers.
“The government brought farms laws, but the farmers are out on the roads protesting in chilly winter.
“If the laws are not accepted by the farmers, can they be beneficial to them. If you bring laws which are not acceptable to people, you are disrespecting the Constitution of the country,” she said while addressing a party function here.
She also accused the Centre of disrespecting the Constitution by repealing the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
The former chief minister, who was an ally of the BJP from 2015 to 2018, said the mainstream political parties in Kashmir were working to achieve their goal of restoration of special status “within the Constitution of the country”.
“National Conference talks about autonomy, it is within the Constitution. We (PDP) talk of self-rule, open borders, reconciliation … how long can you maintain peace through the barrel of the gun?” she asked.
The PDP president said that the resolution of the Kashmir issue was a cause close to her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s heart.
“Even from his death bed (in December 2015), he asked me if (Prime Minister) Modiji had gone to Lahore (Pakistan). He (Mufti) said now some way could be found for a resolution,” she said.
“We want peace, but we are not the ones to raise the white flag,” she added.
Mehbooba said her party’s struggle is not against the people of the country but the party and the government that “humiliated Jammu and Kashmir” by repealing its special status.
“PDP is going nowhere till it plays its role in restoring what has been snatched from us,” she said.
Mehbooba claimed that the formation of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) had led to frustration in the ruling party and referred to the recent detention of some leaders.
She said that a major reason for breaking of the alliance with BJP was that she didn’t accept the pact that entailed that the bodies of slain militants won’t be handed over to their families for last rites and a major crackdown would be launched on Jamaat-e-Islami in J&K.
The PDP chief also said that closing doors for the All Parties Delegation (APD) by the Hurriyat leaders set a bad precedent across India and that PDP will continue to vouch for the resolution of Kashmir issue through dialogue between India and Pakistan.
“It was after an agreement between PDP and BJP that article 370 won’t be touched, historic roads will be opened and a dialogue with Hurriyat leaders and Pakistan would be held. That was the Agenda of Alliance,” she said.
However, Mehbooba said that 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 the JeI across Kashmir.”
“I refused to agree to this plan which led to the fall of PDP-BJP alliance in J&K,” she revealed. She said that while PDP was in alliance with the BJP, a golden opportunity was lost when Hurriyat leaders shut their doors for the APD delegations.
“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 won from various seats across Kashmir, stating that “BJP had written PDP’s obituary” but the recent council elections proved that PDP is workers’ party rather a movement.
“I recall what my father used to say about workers. He would always say workers are like his eyes. I believe in same. Today, PDP is alive yet again and that is because of workers. This happened despite the fact big leaders left our party but they lost in their own constituencies as our worker stood with us firmly,” she said.
The PDP chief said that PDP will continue to press for resolution of Kashmir issue through dialogue with Hurriyat and Pakistan.
“We are not saying 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 are not saying anything new but what Atal Bihari Vajpayee did. We demand opening of our traditional routes too,” she said. (with inputs from PTI)