Mehbooba asks youth to shun violence, fight peacefully

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti addressing party’s Raising Day function in Srinagar on Wednesday. -Excelsior/Shakeel

‘Whatever was snatched has to be returned with interest’

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, July 28: People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today said that whatever was snatched from Kashmiris on August 5, 2019 will have to be returned with interest.

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Addressing party workers on the occasion of 22nd foundation day of PDP at party headquarters, Mehbooba said with the decision taken in August 2019, the Jammu and Kashmir was made scapegoat for gaining votes.
“It is unfortunate that the only Muslim majority State in India was split,” she said, adding that whatever people of Kashmir faced wasn’t done by India and its Constitution, but by an individual party.
“The identity of J&K people was snatched illegally and whatever was snatched from people on August 5, 2019, will have to be returned with interests,” she said.
“When India can achieve freedom from British after 70 years, when BJP can snatch special status of J&K after 70 years, then why can’t we fight for our rights”? she asked.
The PDP president said that the J&K people want to live with India and thus will continue to raise their voice and seek the restoration of special status.
She appealed to youth to shun the militancy, saying that some people want youth to take up arms, but the youth should stay away from culture (gun). “We will raise our voice peacefully. We have to learn from Mahatma Gandhi. We need to learn from him”, she added.
Mehbooba said that J&K preferred to stay with India due to its democratic nature, but whatever was given to the people by India itself has been snatched.
“Today forces are not fighting enemies, Pakistan and China, but with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. They (forces) have created fear among the people,” she said, adding that people are being threatened for raising their voice.
On the formation of PDP, she said her father established this party with an intention to help Kashmiris to come out for the suppression they faced. “My father never sought votes for developmental issues. Although he did development during his tenure by constructing Colleges, Universities and roads as well, he always sought votes for the wellbeing of Kashmiris in terms of helping them to come out from the situation they were facing,” she said.
Mehbooba said at that time the party leadership underlined the relevance of the guiding principles and ethos of PDP which is to advocate and facilitate resolution through dialogue and reconciliation, peace with dignity and equitable development.
She took pride and expressed satisfaction at the party leadership and its foot soldiers who “continue at path with absolute commitment to the ideals and the core agenda of PDP”.
“We have taken it upon ourselves to struggle for our identity and rights by all peaceful and Constitutional means, we are also not losing the sight of the bigger picture and would continue to advocate the resolution through dialogue and reconciliation to bring about lasting peace not only in Jammu and Kashmir but the entire subcontinent,” she said.
“Our unflinching and uncompromising stand vis a vis our identity and rights aside, the changing geo-political scenario is proving the agenda and roadmap of PDP more relevant today than ever before. It is our belief that peace in South Asian region and the prosperity of people is subservient to sustainable peace in J&K and the only way to achieve it would be to follow up on what Mufti sahib had envisioned and even executed when at the helm of affairs from 2002-2005,” she said.
Reaching out to the people of the country, Mehbooba said that J&K had not acceded with a political party but the democratic and secular people of the great nation and that they must not remain mute spectators while the people of J&K are being demeaned and muzzled.
Castigating BJP for bulldozing the democratic ethos and institutions of the country, Mehbooba equated the present day style of functioning of BJP Government with the erstwhile East India Company which only bothered about land and resources and not the people and their aspirations. “For BJP like East India Company every citizen of the country is a suspect and guilty until proven innocent,” she said
The PDP president appealed to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir to probe the killing of three youth in encounters, saying that people are raising fingers on IGP after the killing of three youth in the encounters.
“IGP should probe the killings of Zakir, Imran and Azad Mushtaq. The facts in this regard should be made public,” she said.