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Mehbooba slams Centre, says ‘gloves are finally off’

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Meets Farooq Abdullah, Sajad Lone, others

Srinagar, Aug 02: PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti Friday evening said that there is too much scare in the air and common people have been pushed to the wall.

“There is too much confusion. On one side government says all is well, but the advisory regarding Yatris and tourists says some other story,” she said while addressing a press conference late this evening.

Questioning the government’s decisions of asking Yatris and tourists to leave Kashmir, she questioned, where shall the people of Kashmir, Ladakh and Jammu go.

“I have never seen this kind of scare and chaos. It seems constitutional guarantees to J&K are under threat. You talk about Kashmiriyat, Jamhoriyat, Insaniyat, if that is true, why create panic?” she said.

She said that she believes that her countrymen need Kashmiris not the land. “But government of India is treating it as a territorial issue. Let it understand that Kashmiris have sacrificed a lot for maintenance of special identity of Kashmir,” she said.

She said that she will be meeting Dr Farooq Abdullah late this evening over the issue and will also meet other political contemporaries including Sajad Gani Lone and Imran Ansari.

Reports suggested that she met with Farooq Abdullah and Sajad Lone at their respective residences.

Earlier in the day, in a series of tweets, Mehbooba Mufti said the “gloves are finally off and India has chosen territory over people”.

“You failed to win over the love of a single Muslim majority state which rejected division on religious grounds & chose secular India. The gloves are finally off & India has chosen territory over people,” Mehbooba, the PDP president, wrote on Twitter.

She said New Delhi seemed to be preparing “to rob” the people of Jammu and Kashmir of “whatever little is left to protect their unique identity”.

“(PDP founder and two-time chief minister) Mufti (Mohammad Sayeed) sahab would always say that whatever Kashmiris will get, it will be from their own country India. But today the same country seems to be preparing to rob them of whatever little is left to protect their unique identity,” she said in another tweet.

The former chief minister expressed hope that Kashmir would not be “used as a red herring to distract masses from the real issues”.

“The economy is in free fall but I hope like always Kashmir isn’t used as a red herring to distract masses from the real issues. Such a move will have catastrophic consequences & push Kashmiris to the brink,” she said.

Mehbooba said for a state that is often referred to as the crown of India, “the uncaring and callous treatment meted out to its people is disconcerting”.

“Ideally some sort of clarification should’ve been issued. Instead a misinformation campaign is being run while an uneasy calm prevails in Kashmir,” she said as the Valley remained on the edge even as a fresh order asking Amarnath pilgrims and tourists to leave Kashmir was issued by the State administration.

In the aftermath of the order, people started buying essentials and lining up at petrol pumps to fill their vehicles fearing disturbances in the law and order situation.

“Complete chaos on the streets of Srinagar. People rushing to ATMs, petrol pumps & stocking up on essential supplies. Is GOI only concerned about the safety of yatris while Kashmiris have been left to their own devices?” she said as the city witnessed traffic jams at several places.

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