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Kashmir An ‘Open Air Prison’, Article 370 Abrogation Has Allowed China To Interfere In UT After Pakistan: Mehbooba Mufti

Former J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti during her presser in Karnataka’s Bengaluru also said the people of the state have given a ray of hope to the entire country by defeating a ‘fascist, communal and divisive’ BJP in the recently concluded elections.

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Mehbooba Mufti press conference
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Saying Article 370 abrogation has allowed China to interfere in Jammu and Kashmir where Pakistan was only interfering earlier, former CM Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday claimed that Kashmir has been turned into an open air prison with surveillance of highest order.

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti who is visiting Karnataka also appreciated the people for voting out a "fascist" BJP government in the state.

She also cautioned people about the recent developments in Delhi, saying it was a wake-up call for everyone as it can happen anywhere in the country. 

Mufti was referring to an ordinance passed by the President on Friday, May 20, giving overriding powers to the Delhi's Lieutenant Governor -- a union government nominee -- to oversee the transfer, posting and disciplinary proceedings against civil servants in Delhi.

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The ordinance was brought in just a week after a Supreme Court Constitution Bench had ruled that powers over the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers in the national capital lay with the Delhi government and not the Central government. The apex court had made it clear that the Central government cannot take over governance of elected state governments.

"Whatever happened in Delhi is a wake-up call for everyone. Whatever happened in Jammu and Kashmir is going to happen around the whole country," Mufti said at a press conference here.

"BJP doesn't want to have any opposition. The Delhi government has been disempowered. This is going to happen to everyone," the PDP chief added.

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Stating that the people of Karnataka had given a ray of hope to the entire country by defeating a "fascist, communal and divisive" BJP in the recently-concluded Assembly election, Mufti said, "Karnataka people have shown us the way, that the might of power agencies and institutions can be defeated with your vote in a democracy. 

"I also thank them for bringing most of the opposition parties who believe in the Constitution, democratic values and secular culture of this country and, above all, believe in the idea of India, together," she added.

She alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and everyone in the BJP had used religion to fight the Karnataka elections but still the people voted them out.

According to the former CM, Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra had laid the foundation for Congress's victory in the Karnataka Assembly election.

"Last five years a lot of hatred, communal and divisive politics was played in Karnataka, which must have caused a lot of wounds to the secular fabric of this place. So, I am sure that the Congress government along with Siddaramaiah and D K Shivakumar will be able to heal those wounds that have been inflicted in the last five years," the PDP chief said.

Speaking about her state, Mufti said Jammu and Kashmir was the first victim of the "fascist forces". 

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Despite being a Muslim majority state and despite all odds, Jammu and Kashmir had taken a decision to align with the idea of India when the whole subcontinent was burning with communal fire at the time of independence, she pointed out. 

Jammu and Kashmir was given special status, which was the best example of cooperative federalism, according to her. "But unfortunately with the onslaught of the BJP government in 2019, we saw that the state was dismantled, dismembered and disempowered by abrogating Article 370 of the Indian constitution," she rued

"Today, ours is the most militarised state in the world. You can’t imagine the kind of surveillance, frisking and harassment that are happening in the name of security," the former CM alleged.

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She said she spoke about her state to Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and others during the swearing-in ceremony of Siddaramaiah as Karnataka CM on Saturday.

"I want people to pay attention to what has happened in J&K. All our passports have been confiscated. If this can happen to a family where I was a CM, and my mother is wife of Late Mufti Mohammed Syed, a former CM and former union minister, it can happen to everyone," the PDP chief said.

Stating that Jammu and Kashmir has become an open-air prison, Mufti alleged that China is now interfering in its affairs, which only Pakistan used to do earlier. "This is what the BJP has done by abrogating Article 370," she lamented.

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Mufti also said she will not contest the Assembly election till Article 370 is restored in her state. However, her party PDP will fight the election.

On a question about Congress not inviting many opposition parties' chief ministers during the swearing in ceremony of Siddaramaiah yesterday, such as BRS's K Chandrasekhar Rao, YSR Congress's Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, AAP's Arvind Kejriwal and CPI(M)'s Pinarayi Vijayan, Mehbooba Mufti said the Congress has to sacrifice more; "otherwise there are no other options".

(With PTI inputs)

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