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Mehbooba Mufti talks tough, displays J&K flag

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Says BJP wants to replace Indian Constitution with its manifesto

PHOTO-Javed Khan/Kashmir Images

Srinagar: Former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president, Mehbooba Mufti on Friday said that she will not raise any flag till the flag of erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir is returned.

She also alleged that the ruling party in the centre is trying to replace the constitution of the country with its party manifesto.

Asked about her statement regarding the flag on India before the abrogation of Article 370, the former chief minister said that she is not going to raise any other flag till the flag of Jammu and Kashmir is returned.

She added that she will be the first person among the leaders to give her blood for this cause in case the need arises.

“We (leaders) are united and people should also fight it in unison. It is not the fight of Dr Farooq, Sajad Lone or any other leader. But of one and all,” she added.

“Since Article 370 was abrogated, the government left no stone unturned to hurt the sentiments of people by taking all the anti-people decisions. They don’t want people of Jammu and Kashmir. People of JK are expendable for them,” she added.

Addressing a news conference, Mehbooba Mufti, who was flanked by Abdul Rehman Veeri, Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura and Suhail Bukhari told media persons that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has demolished the constitution of the country.

During the presser, she displayed erstwhile J&K state flag besides her party’s.

Mufti hit out at the BJP, saying the party has “demolished” the country’s Constitution and wants to replace it with its own manifesto.

In her first media interaction in over 14 months after the abrogation Article 370 provision in August last year and her subsequent detention, she said the opposition parties in the country, except a few, went silent on the issue thinking this happened in Kashmir and not with them.

“But then, the BJP demolished the same Constitution, the BJP passed the Citizenship Amendment Act and polarised the people. Then made an anti-farmer law and now, I think they will steal the rights of the downtrodden communities like Dalits,” she said.

“They want to replace the country’s Constitution with the BJP’s manifesto, but this will not work. So many people like Pharaoh and Hitler came, but this dictatorship will not work,” the former chief minister said.

Mufti said the BJP does not want the people of Jammu and Kashmir and is only after its “territory”.

“The people of Jammu and Kashmir are expendable for them, what they want is the territory. They had this territory rightfully till August 05, 2019, but then they broke a relation by virtue of which we had entered into an accession with them,” she said.

Mufti lashed out at the BJP for desecrating the Constitution and “looting” the dignity of the people by revoking its special status.

“We had acceded to a liberal, democratic, secular India. Let me tell them we are not comfortable, we are incompatible with today’s India where minorities and Dalits are not safe and where they tried to disrespect us by looting our dignity. They will have to think, if not today, then tomorrow, that this country will run on India’s Constitution and not on the BJP’s manifesto,” she said.

The PDP chief said the BJP-led government had nothing to show and rake up except for Kashmir and Article 370 to seek votes.

“PM Modi had to talk about Article 370 today to seek votes. We should understand that this government has failed to address the issues of the country, be it economy, employment or anything else. When they fail in these issues, they are flogging minorities, they are flogging Kashmir.

“They have demonised Kashmiris, Muslims and even Dalits for that matter in the media and when they fail at anything, they remember Kashmir and Article 370,” she alleged.

When asked whether the PDP was responsible for giving power to the BJP by way of an alliance with them after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, she said Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was not revoked by the Assembly or the Jammu and Kashmir government, but Parliament.

“If there has to be a regret, it should be that we kept our faith and trust in a PM of the same party to which (former PM A B) Vajpayee belonged to. We trusted that he will not desecrate the Constitution. Who knew he will do that when he had the brute majority. But unfortunately, he misused the Constitution and looted something over which they had no right,” Mufti alleged.

She said the fight for the restoration of J&K’s special status would continue by using all peaceful means necessary.

“Our people should not get discouraged, nothing is impossible. Not only what was taken away from us will be returned to us, but also God willing, they will come to our feet and ask Kashmiris what else do they want. This is a political fight which we will fight in a peaceful manner and I want people’s support,” Mufti said.

Asked whether separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s refusal to meet members of the all-party delegation in 2016 after months of violence in the wake of killing of militant commander Burhan Wani, she  said it was a loss of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“It was a huge loss as the delegation was not of the BJP, but an all-party delegation. We should have at least offered them tea even if we did not talk to them. The whole country was watching and it spoiled our image. I think it was our loss that we did not do what we could have done. It was our loss only and not of the BJP or the country,” she said.

Asked about National Conference president Farooq Abdullah’s remarks on China, she said it was a reality that China was talking about India’s “unilateral decision” of abrogation of Article 370 provisions.

“It is a reality that China has grabbed 1,000 km of Indian territory out of which they have returned only about 40 km after India pleaded them. It is also a reality that China is talking about Article 370, saying this is disputed and why have you done this unilaterally.

“So, you cannot deny it, it is a fact. The fact is that Jammu and Kashmir had never come into such an international view before abrogation of Article 370. These are all realities and you cannot deny them,” she said.

“As far as I am concerned, I have no interest in elections. Till the time the constitution, under which I used to contest elections, is returned to us, Mehbooba Mufti has got nothing to do with elections, let me tell you that,” she said.

Mufti said she was not for power even if the union territory was upgraded to a state.

“I am no more for power be it a union territory or even a state. I was never for power. If I had any greed for power, we would not have left the Congress and created the PDP. We are not only for power. We could have made the government with the Congress (after 2014 polls), but we entered into an alliance with the BJP for a reason,” she said, adding that “I am not ready to take any oath without my flag and my constitution”.

When asked about whether her party and the Peoples’ Alliance for Gupkar Declaration will contest the District Development Councils (DDCs), she said a meeting of the alliance was being held on Saturday where these issues will also be discussed apart from the general situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

She also said “our fight is not confined for the restoration of Article 370, but for the resolution of Kashmir issue as well. Kashmir issue is an issue and nobody can turn their eye blind to it.”

She added that “those who think we will forget Article 370 are living in fool’s paradise. People have given a lot of sacrifices and we won’t allow the sacrifices to go waste.”

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