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Mehbooba Mufti urges youth to unify against ‘daily assaults on Jammu and Kashmir’

Peoples Democratic Party President and former Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. File

Peoples Democratic Party President and former Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday attacked the Lieutenant Governor's administration and appealed to people to unify against "daily assaults on J&K's land and jobs" and "bids to frame people by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Anti-Corruption Bureau in unproven cases of militancy and corruption".

"Every diktat issued since 2019, whether amending laws related to State subject, land or job, is aimed at disempowerment of people of Kashmir. Both land and jobs have been put on a sale now. The first preference for land allotment is given to the security forces and fo​llowed by industries from outside. Even contracts for local minerals and development works are given to outsiders," Ms. Mufti, who addressed the media persons in Srinagar, said.

She said the growing number of raids by the NIA, ED and ACB and expulsion of employees from government services were "aimed at turning locals into untouchables in the society".

"Businessmen are being harassed. Employees are being suspended on unproven charges of corruption. Yes, show them the door only if the corruption charges are proven in courts but not arbitrarily. I appeal to people to visit the homes and express solidarity with those whose residences are raided by the NIA, ED etc. and also of those employees who are being terminated from services. We have to join hands," the former chief minister said, adding "time has come for people of J&K to resort to democratic, political and peaceful measures to oppose such assaults."

Ms. Mufti asked people "not to give up hope or live with a sense of defeatism". She warned that the situation in Kashmir could turn "worse than Gaza in Palestine if the people fail to protect their rights".

"The way Israel acts in Gaza, we see houses and property being sealed without any court directions in Kashmir. How could a person resist if militants' barge into their houses? Why would their houses be sealed? We saw how militants managed to even target cantonments in 1997-98 in Kashmir," she said.

Ms. Muti appealed to parents to stop their wards from picking up guns. "The killing of a youth means promotion and incentives for them (security forces). We need youth for the future. Time has come to shun guns," she added.

She also asked the administration to make public the names of youth being picked up on a daily basis.

"A blast takes place inside a civilian vehicle in Shopian, in which an Army jawan dies. Later, a local Showkat Sheikh was arrested in Shopian. A few days later he gets killed in an encounter in Kupwara. How could he get killed? Why does the Army take vehicles of civilians? Civilians are getting killed in chance encounters of the security forces. Even the bodies are not returned to their families, despite the court order in Amir Magray's case," Ms. Mufti said.

She also appealed to religious leaders to intervene to stop attacks against Kashmiri Pandits. "We need to tell the society that Pandits are our assets. We should not allow attacks on them. The BJP uses them only for meeting their political ends," she said.

Describing the L-G Manoj Sinha as Viceroy, Ms. Mufti took pot shots at him for his remarks on "not allowing any free electricity supply in Kashmir".

"Electricity generated in J&K is used in the rest of the country. We even pay for two bulbs. How is it there is free electricity in places like Delhi and Punjab but not electricity-generating J&K," Ms. Mufti added.

In a veiled reference to growing corruption, Ms. Mufti, without naming anyone, said, "People come to J&K and return with full briefcases".

She also expressed apprehensions that the recent Agnipath scheme was aimed at creating "a trained youth who could target minorities". "Only RSS people would be recruited under such a scheme," she added.

She said the BJP has made a mess of the country built on the foundations of secularism and democracy laid by Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi.

"The fundamentals are being turned upside down. This is the most corrupt system. The way MLAs are being purchased, you won't find any such example in the history of India," Ms. Mufti said.

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2022 1:30:50 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/mehbooba-mufti-urges-youth-of-jammu-kashmir-to-shun-militancy/article65564143.ece