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'Azaadi Sentiment Growing Stronger Than Ever In J&K': PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti

PDP in its monthly newsletter, 'Speak Up', has raised the issue of arrests in Kashmir ahead of the G20 summit.

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Mehbooba Mufti
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Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday said “Azaadi sentiment” is growing stronger than ever in Kashmir.

The party is led by former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who once ran the government in alliance with the BJP in the erstwhile state.

PDP in its monthly newsletter, “Speak Up”, has raised the issue of arrests in Kashmir ahead of the G20 summit. It further discussed militant attacks in Pir Panjal and the aftermath. It has alleged custodial killings, arming of Hindu militias and BJP’s “muscular policy”.

 

The party in its monthly newsletter has come heavily on the BJP-led Centre government, with which it had joined hands to form government in the erstwhile state.

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As the G20 summit is around the corner in the Union Territory, PDP said hundreds of Kashmiri boys are being arrested, while also questioning the government’s claim of normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir.

“They insist that everything is normal in J&K and yet there has been an unprecedented surge in arrests, raids, surveillance and persecution of our people,” PDP said.

“Hundreds of Kashmiri boys have been arrested prior to the event, most of them from south Kashmir,” the party said.

PDP also claimed the BJP government is finding an “opportunity” to “harass” Kashmiri under the garb of the G20 summit.

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“Never let a good crisis go to waste. And although the G20 meet is hardly a crisis, GOI is making full use of it as another opportunity to harass and intimidate Kashmiris,” the party said.

 The party added: “Anticipatory arrests like this would have made perfect sense if GOI had a crystal ball that enabled them to look into the future”.

The party also said the situation in Poonch and Rajouri districts is alarming in the wake of the recent militant attacks on security forces. “But then they would have been able to prevent our brave jawans from getting slaughtered. In less than a month, ten wreaths have been laid on the coffins of the ten soldiers that were killed by militants in Poonch and Rajouri. Not only did GOI fail to take adequate security measures to prevent the Poonch attack but they also tried to downplay it by calling it an accident”.

PDP said the “truth” about the recent Poonch attack “would have never come to light”. The party said it was only after “the militants publicly took responsibility for the event”.

PDP also said “elimination of our political mainstream is creating fertile grounds for radicalisation” in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Alienating an entire population comes with a price. GOI’s hardline approach towards Kashmir coupled with the elimination of our political mainstream is creating fertile grounds for radicalisation where the Aazadi sentiment is growing stronger than ever,” the party said.

It also claimed that intelligence is losing its grip over the treacherous Pir Panchal region.

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“…to make matters worse local security apparatus has detained more than 200 locals deemed suspects for the Poonch attack,” the party said.

PDP also referred to a death of a local in the aftermath of the Poonch attack and said stories around custodial deaths are growing “stranger” in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Mukhtar Hussain Shah, a 48-year-old man, who was detained by police and the army has died in custody. Officials say he committed suicide by consuming poison just hours after he was summoned to the police station. The next day, his unconscious body was found lying on the road by his family that also claim to have seen bruises and torture marks all over his body,” PDP said.

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It added: “The stories around custodial deaths continue to get stranger and yet one thing all stays the same—the beaten, the bruised, tortured and mutilated bodies of the slain”.

PDP said people of the Pir Panjal belt played a proactive role in militancy with security forces who it said are now suspected of supporting the insurgency.

“In the past, the Pir Panjal region played a huge role in supporting the paramilitary forces to fight insurgency. Today, the very same people are being suspected, tyrannized and mistreated,” it said.

The party said: “This will have dangerous consequences for India because of the strategic location of these areas. To put things into perspective, the recent Poonch attack has been the seventh of its kind since 2019.”

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PDP also raised the issue of arming Hindu militias in the wake of an upsurge in militant attacks in the Jammu region.

“In wake of the recent attacks on minorities, GOI armed about 25000 civilians in Jammu. The mostly Hindu militia consists of men, women and even teenagers,” the party said.

PDP said, “This solution will cost more lives than the problem it was meant to solve.”

“Not surprisingly then, among the very first deaths were two men that used their weapons to commit suicide and a third man who shot his wife when his weapon accidentally discharged.”

The party which was once a coalition partner of the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir has asked for a “re-evaluation” of its priorities.

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“Perhaps this would be a good time for them to re-evaluate their priorities.  If there is one thing that they can learn from recent events it is that tables can turn at any given moment. What was once the hunter can just easily become the hunted,” PDP said.     

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