PDP President Mehbooba Mufti has asked the people of Jammu to be a bridge and maintain a strong bond with Kashmir that is drifting away due to the "strong-arm tactics" of the BJP-led dispensation. Without naming the BJP, she said those who are saying that everything has been set right in J&K after abrogation of Article 370 are making false claims as nothing has changed on the ground.
The former chief minister said her struggle through peaceful means would continue for restoration of the special status being enjoyed by the people of Jammu and Kashmir before August 2019. "Today Kashmir is in pain…the wound has further worsened and Kashmir is drifting away from us,” Mufti said interacting with a group of lawyers here.
"I am feeling it (Kashmir is drifting away). The anger among the people of Kashmir is growing with each passing day and they are depressed," she said, adding the people of Jammu had to play the role of a bridge like PDP founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed wished to see J&K becoming a peace bridge between India and Pakistan but unfortunately the region has turned into a tug of war between the two countries.
"I request the people of Jammu to stand up and not let Kashmir go. You think where will it go? When the hearts are broken and you stop attending an ailing part of the body, it is ultimately lost," she said. Referring to the recent Hyderpora encounter in Srinagar, she said three civilians were killed and their families were denied permission to perform their last rights.
"Kashmiris did not change overnight. They were the same people who preferred democratic and secular India over Pakistan during partition. We joined hands with Mahatma Gandhi's India and not his assassin Nathuram Godse's India," she said, adding "some forces are hell bent to turn Gandhi's India into Godse's India but we will not allow it to happen and will resist it in every nook and corner of the nation."
Mufti said Article 370 was given to the people of Jammu and Kashmir by the constitution of the country to safeguard the identity of the Dogras, Kashmiris and Ladakhis. "We will take it back without using the means of hooliganism, stones, guns and bullets. We are talking about peaceful ways to get it back,” she said.
Under the BJP rule, she said the whole country is going through a very difficult phase but the situation in J&K is more serious. She said all the institutions have become defunct in Jammu and Kashmir so there is a need to strengthen judicial activism to provide justice to the people. Mufti said traders are suffering as they are being raided by security agencies and those in government jobs are being terminated.
"This is not going to solve the problem,” Mufti said, adding that since Jammu and Kashmir are not on the same page over various issues, the "communal forces" are taking advantage to create a rift among the two divisions. The PDP leader referred to her speech in the all-party meeting of J&K leaders chaired by the Prime Minister in Delhi in June and said, "Why is BJP getting angry when I talk about Article 370 and the need for dialogue with Pakistan."
"Article 370 was given to us by the constitution of the country and we cannot seek its return from any other country," she said, asking people of Jammu to remain cautious against the elements who are propagating against them in the region.
"My father (Mufti Mohammad Sayeed) used to say that BJP is a nationalist party and can go for any sacrifice. However, they sacrificed J&K which is the crown of India, for votes and made the lives of the people miserable," she said. Mufti said she does not have any expectations from the BJP which can talk to Pakistan for renewed ceasefire along the borders and even Afghanistan's Taliban but cannot talk to its own people in J&K.
"We have to stand up and make collective and unified efforts to bring a strong bond between the two regions (Kashmir and Jammu) as our interests are in the unity of the two regions that cannot live separately," she said.