Srinagar May 16 : Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president and former Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti today said that Kashmir Pandit employee, Rahul Bhat’s killing is being used to spread hatred between Hindus and Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing a press conference here, Mehbooba said that the PAGD leaders met Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha yesterday and apprised him about the need to change the policy on the ground that had deteriorated the situation in J&K.
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“The recent killing of Rahul Bhatt is being used to spread hatred. There is a need to ensure a secure atmosphere to the Kashmir Pandits,” she added.
She said that Kashmiris exactly know the importance of Kashmiri Pandits, they are part and parcel of this place. “Despite claiming high and tall about Kashmir Pandits, the Government has failed to provide a secure atmosphere to them. During our rule, no Kashmiri Pandit faced any untoward incident,” she said.
Stating that tourism can’t be seen as normalcy in Kashmir, Mehbooba said that the present atmosphere the Government has created with a particular narrative must be stopped forthwith.
On the PAGD meeting with the LG, she said: “It was not just about the killings of Kashmiri Pandit; it was also about the general atmosphere of arrests and fear that they had fostered here. Anyone who speaks, such as journalists, gets imprisoned. The government moved roughly 80-under trials to outside jails yesterday. They come from poor families who cannot afford to visit them in jails outside of town, let alone fight their cases”, she said.
“Similarly, employees get fired every day. I informed them that such actions would exacerbate rather than relieve the situation. It also washes away years of hard work by political parties and security personnel to improve the situation and get to the point when Kashmiri pundits felt safe in such an environment. However, the policies that have been adopted in this country for the past four years have fostered such hatred and fear in the minds of the people that the divide between them has widened.”
“Unless I told him, he opened that page in Vajpayee’s book where he talks about dealing with issues in the realm of humanity and reaching out to the people, kids like Rahul Bhat will continue to leave us. Only by changing the government’s policies will the problems and suffering in Jammu and Kashmir be remedied.”
“I explained to him that J&K is the only Muslim-majority area in the country and that joining hands with India would mean they would be treated differently and better. However, the treatment we have received has left us gasping for air as people are not permitted to speak. I intended to go to the protest location of Kashmiri pandits who were denouncing the killings, but I was denied permission. I was previously barred from visiting the home of a Kashmiri pandit who had been attacked in Shopian”, she added.
She said that the Government is not letting “us join in grieving, let alone festivities”. “I did not simply talk about a Kashmiri pandit; I talked about the problem as a whole. Pandits from Kashmir are like organs in our bodies. I’ve heard that Rahul Bhat was a good kid, but he’s been a victim of the BJP’s policies for the past three to four years. The BJP is exploiting these events for no other reason than to increase anti-Muslim sentiment across India”, she added.
She said that they are talking about how they have done this and that for Kashmiri pandits. “They brag about Article 370 being repealed, but what did the people, particularly the Kashmiri pandits, gain from it? Instead, their lives have become increasingly precarious. They frequently associate tourism with normalcy, yet things are not normal here. We worked with security forces to establish this environment so that Kashmiri pandits would not be slain. There were no pandit killings during the unrests of 2010 and 2016, but the environment they fostered, particularly after the Kashmir Files, instilled hatred in the hearts of people. They attempted to alter people’s perceptions”, she added.
“I’m attempting to tell you that there has been an upsurge in hunger and that roughly 80 million people are now receiving free rations because they cannot afford to buy food. The assets are being sold similarly. If they guarantee that poverty would be eradicated in our country, which is currently trailing Pakistan and Bangladesh in terms of poverty. I’d like them to inform Muslims to provide us with a list of mosques that they want Muslims to hand over”, she added.