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On party’s foundation day, Mehbooba talks tough

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“Whatever was snatched in Aug 2019, will have to be returned with interest”

Srinagar: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday said that whatever was snatched from Kashmiris on August 05, 2019 will have to be returned with interest.

Addressing party workers on the occasion of 22nd foundation day of PDP at party headquarters here, Mufti as per the news agency KNO said with the decision taken in August 2019, the Jammu and Kashmir was made scapegoat for gaining votes.

“It is unfortunate that the only Muslim majority state in India was split,” she said, adding that whatever people of Kashmir faced wasn’t done by India and its Constitution, “but by an individual party”.

“The identity of J&K people was snatched and whatever was snatched from people on August 5, 2019, will have to be returned with interest,” she said, adding that “when India can achieve freedom from the British after 70 years, when BJP can snatch special status of J&K after 70 years, why can’t we too fight out for our rights?”

The PDP president said that the J&K people want to live with India and thus will continue to raise their voice and seek the restoration of their special status.

She said during the all-party meeting with the prime minister last month, she reiterated that dialogue was the only way out.

“I also said that we will continue our struggle for restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status which was taken away unconstitutionally. We will not restore till we get it back with interest,” she said.

She appealed to youth to shun the militancy, saying that some people want youth to take up arms, but “the youth should stay away from gun culture. We will raise our voice peacefully. We have to learn from Mahatma Gandhi….”

Mufti also said that people of J&K people preferred to stay with India due to its democratic nature, but whatever was given to the people by India itself has been snatched away.

“Today (security) forces are not fighting the enemy — Pakistan and China — but with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. They (forces) have created fear among the people,” she said, adding that people are being threatened for raising their voice.

On the formation of PDP, she said her father established this party with an intention to help Kashmiris to come out for the suppression they faced. “My father never sought votes for developmental issues. Although he did development during his tenure by constructing colleges, universities and roads,  but he always sought votes for the well-being of Kashmiris so as to help them to come out from the situation they were facing,” she claimed.

She also appealed to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir to probe the killing of three youth in Hokersar encounter.

“IGP should probe the killings of Zakir, Imran and Azad Mushtaq. The facts in this regard should be made public,” she said.

Mufti also said India should talk to Pakistan for resolution of Kashmir issue and putting an end to the bloodshed in the region.

“The ceasefire between India and Pakistan (in February this year) was a result of dialogue. Then what’s wrong when Mehbooba Mufti says hold talks with Pakistan for resolving the issue and ending the bloodshed?” she said.

The former chief minister said there should be no hesitation in holding talks with the neighbouring country for improving the situation.

“The ceasefire has resulted in peace along borders and lesser infiltration. This has brought relief to the people,” she said.

“We are talking to China which has occupied our land. You (the government) may not admit it but that is the case. Shimla Agreement and Tashkent agreement between India and Pakistan were about Jammu and Kashmir,” Mehbooba Mufti added.

She said PDP founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s dream of trade and travel between divided parts of Jammu and Kashmir was realised by the efforts of then prime ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh.

“Hold talks with Pakistan again and open the Muzaffarabad and Rawalakote trade routes again,” she said.

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