Mehbooba Mufti calls for united struggle to seek restoration of Article 370

By PTI

JAMMU:  PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Monday called for a united struggle to seek the restoration of Article 370 and the resolution of the Kashmir issue to end the bloodshed in Jammu and Kashmir and said her voice is “weak” and she cannot do it alone.

Mehbooba, who is on a five-day tour of the Chenab valley region, was addressing a party convention at Dak Banglow in Kishtwar, where she was accorded a warm welcome by the party activists and supporters.

“I am confident that we will get back Article 370 with interest and also ensure the resolution of the Kashmir issue to end bloodshed in the region. However, I cannot do it single-handedly as my voice is weak and you need to lend your voice to support me,” she told the well-attended gathering.

The former chief minister said Article 370 was snatched from the people of Jammu and Kashmir and anything which is snatched is bound to be returned with interest “They have taken our honour, our skull cap, our turban and how it is possible that we keep it with them. We have to join hands to seek an end to the bloodshed which is consuming our lives and the lives of our jawans,” she said and referred to the recent targeted killing of minorities and the latest killing of five soldiers including a Junior Commissioned Officer in an encounter in Poonch district.

Mehbooba said she saluted former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who despite being a member of the RSS and the BJP did not care for vote bank politics and went to Pakistan to initiate dialogue which paved the way for peace and end of bloodshed to a large extent in J-K.

Taking a dig at the BJP-led government at the Centre, the PDP leader said they talked to Pakistan secretly to ensure ceasefire along the borders which also led to an appreciable drop in the infiltration of militants, while over a dozen rounds of talks were held with China despite intrusion by its troops in Ladakh and killing of Indian soldiers.

“When we call for dialogue (with Pakistan) to end the bloodshed in J-K, they get annoyed. We want an end to the bloodshed but they are not bothered because the UP elections are coming near and they have nothing left except the politics of hatred,” she said.

Claiming that the country is in danger under the BJP rule, she said, “We all — Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians — have to come together not only to save J-K but the entire country otherwise they will trample the whole country like they did to the farmers in Uttar Pradesh recently.”

She alleged that BJP is not a well wisher of anyone and their only aim is power and for it they will go to any extent.

She also questioned the claims of the BJP over the large-scale development happening in J-K after the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019 and said “all I see is development deficit with problems of people compounded manifold”.

Mehbooba said the BJP is claiming that normalcy has been restored but the ground situation belies its claims.

“I unequivocally condemn all killings but by stopping me from meeting the family of Parvez Khan (who was shot dead by security forces in Anantnag district last week after his vehicle jumped a checkpoint), does the administration want us to selectively condemn killings,” she said.