Mufti flays Centre for excluding J&K from new telecom policy

Excelsior Correspondent

Srinagar, June 5: Terming the decision to keep Jammu and Kashmir out of the new telecom policy as “discriminatory, thoughtless and divisive,” People’s Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today urged the Prime Minister to intervene and scrap this diktat.
Addressing a meeting of the members of Kupwara district committee of the party here today party, Mr Sayeed said such treatment of the J&K State only fuelled alienation, contributed to trust deficit and cultivated the feeling of ‘otherness’ among the people here.
He said it was ironic that J&K should be kept of a scheme that is christened one nation, one number when the Central Government is talking of winning the hearts and minds of people here. “What message are you sending to the people of the State by such small minded policies”?, he asked. He said such actions brought to a naught all efforts at bridging the gulf between the State and rest of the country and need to be dumped once and for all.
“By treating the people of the State as suspects in implementation of policies like the telecom policy, the Government was actually creating a mistrust about them which reflected often in unwarranted police action against them in various States”, he remarked.
Mr Sayeed said the myopic stance adopted by various elements of State had seriously impeded peace prospects in the past as well. Recalling the resistance faced in extending mobile telephony to the State, he said it was after a great deal of persuasion that J&K had got the facility more than a decade after rest of the country but now fresh restrictions were leading to reversal of the policy of openness introduced after 2003. He said mobile facility, contrary to the apprehensions nurtured by security establishment, had helped restoration of normalcy in the State.
“Not only had the discriminatory policy in telecom a negative impact on political and peace initiatives, Mufti said it had a considerable economic fallout as well. He said while rest of the country will have to pay no roaming charges, the people of J&K will have to pay the extra cost for their domicile. Similarly, being a tourist hub it can put avoidable burden on those who visit the state for leisure or business,” the PDP patron asserted.
He said even though the Central Government was wanting in its will and efforts to restore confidence among the people of the State, it was heartening that the civil society in the country and people in general had started to respond to the problems faced here. In this connection, he welcomed the protests made in Muzaffarnagar against the arrest of two Kashmiri students recently.
He said such resonance could pave way for restoration of the rights of J&K with the help of the large majority of people in the country. “But some elements of the State who suspect every resident of Kashmir played a spoilsport in this process of bonding and reconciliation that could have a profound impact on our future,” he said.
In a word of advice to UP Chief Minister Akhlish Yadav, the Mufti said the young leader must try to ensure that no innocents are harassed in his State, which is home to largest Muslim population in the country. He said having come to power on the strength of a positive combination of secular forces, Yadav must see to it that a fair probe is conducted into the arrest of two Kashmiri students and if their innocence is established it is ensured that no repetition of such incidents is allowed.
Addressing the meeting, former Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig said PDP was a political force distinctly poised to change rules of the political game in J&K. He said PDP was a party with difference for its political objective, developmental vision and the quality of its leadership. He told the workers that people of the State were open to new ideas and initiatives and there was no reason why the PDP with its brief but distinct record could not impress the electorate.
“The party is creating an impact everywhere in the State but its message and track record was more relevant to places like Kupwara which had borne the brunt of trouble in last two decades”, he said.
Those who attended the meeting included party general secretary Mohammad Dilawar Mir, former ministers Tariq Hameed Qarra and G M Sofi, chief spokesperson Naeem Akhtar and district president advocate Abdul Haq Khan MLA.


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