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Mehbooba asks youth to stay away from gun culture, follow democratic means

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Says PDP will continue to fight for restoration of J&K's special status

Srinagar: Former chief minister and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president, Mehbooba Mufti on Monday asked youth in Kashmir to stay away from gun culture and fight for their rights in a democratic way.

Talking to the media after addressing a gathering at a membership drive in Srinagar, news agency KNO quoted Mufti saying that “any movement with guns is bound to fail”.

“This is why I have been appealing to the Kashmiri youth not to lose their lives to bullets. If we want to resolve the Kashmir issue, we need to follow democratic ways and force India and Pakistan to hold dialogue,” she said.

Mufti also alleged that “some people want Kashmiri youth to pick up arms to show to the world that they (Kashmiris) are terrorists and there are no issues with them, thus we need to follow democratic means to resolve our issues.”

With regard to the abrogation of Article 370, PDP president said her party will continue to struggle for the restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. “We will continue with our struggle for the restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status…. We do not accept your (government’s) decision of revoking it,” she said.

“Those who have turned Jammu and Kashmir into a jail must bear in mind that we don’t accept the decision taken by the government. We will fight for our rights till our last breath,” she said.

She said the special status to the erstwhile state was given by the Constitution of India. “This position was not given by China or Pakistan. Why is the BJP government pained when we seek its restoration? We had acceded to India on certain conditions and one of them was to protect our identity,” she said.

Mufti said the Centre will have to restore Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

“If you care about the people of Jammu and Kashmir, you will have to return what you have snatched from us,” she said.

She also said the Central government “has put an end to the agreement between J&K and Union of India, but still it is the people of J&K who are holding the hand of India.”

“And when we raise any objection, we are being asked to stay calm. Even if a journalist speaks anything, he is being called and subsequently booked under UAPA,” she said, adding that the situation in Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh is “very critical”.

The PDP chief said India and Pakistan will have to hold talks for resolving their outstanding issues, including the problem of Jammu and Kashmir.

“One day the two countries have to sit together to resolve all the outstanding issues if they want peace in the region,” she said.

Mufti said the SAARC summit should be held so that the issues between the two neighbouring countries are resolved.

“I hope that Prime Minister Narendra Modi goes to Pakistan for the summit…. As (former prime minister) A B Vajpayee had said, we can change friends, but we cannot change neighbours,” she added.

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