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No hope from PM’s Jammu visit, our youth being pushed to wall: Mufti

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Srinagar: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Monday said her party did not see any hope in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in Jammu, alleging that the BJP-led Centre has pushed the youngsters of Jammu and Kashmir towards despondency.

“What hope can we have? The prime minister spoke about the youngsters and the future of Jammu and Kashmir. What future do they have? As if the PSA (Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act) was not enough, youngsters are now being booked under the UAPA,” the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief told reporters here.

She said Modi’s statement was ironic as opportunities of employment and business in Jammu and Kashmir are being given to outsiders.

“Jobs are going out, mining leases and liquor licences are also given to outsiders. The electricity produced in Jammu and Kashmir powers homes and factories across the country, but the situation in Kashmir is terrible on this front as well,” Mufti said.

She said the Centre has put up the land of Jammu and Kashmir for sale, adding, “It is offering a 50-percent stamp duty reduction for people buying land here.”

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister also hit out at Modi for maintaining silence over Muslims facing violence across the country.

“The livelihood of Muslims, their homes and their dignity are being bulldozed in (Delhi’s) Jahangirpuri, right near the prime minister’s residence, but he is doing nothing about it,” she alleged.

Mufti said as a Muslim majority state, Jammu and Kashmir had acceded to India based on the principles of secularism.

“We thought Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians will live together. But that is not happening now. Muslims, the largest minority in the country, are a scared lot,” she added.

Mufti said the prime minister’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir comes in the backdrop of him being a “silent spectator” when 20 crore Muslims were “facing bulldozers”.

“He comes to visit Jammu and Kashmir, which he left no stone unturned to destroy. Our rights have been snatched…. We have been reduced from a state to a Union Territory. Outsiders are being given preference in jobs here, while people from Jammu and Kashmir are being dismissed,” she alleged.

The PDP president further alleged that the BJP-led Centre has “not only bulldozed democracy, but the Constitution as well”.

Asked about elections in Jammu and Kashmir, she said she has not heard anything about it.

“The way they (Centre) are controlling Jammu and Kashmir by a remote control, we do not foresee any news about elections,” Mufti said.

In his first visit to Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution in August 2019, Modi inaugurated and laid the foundation stones of several projects worth around Rs 20,000 crore for the Union Territory on Sunday.

In a message to the youngsters of Jammu and Kashmir, the prime minister said unlike their parents and grandparents, they would not have to live a life of trouble.

“Yes, PM is right in saying that youth here wouldn’t see what their grandfathers and fathers have witnessed — as unlike their fathers and grandfathers, they are being booked under UAPA, harassed by NIA and other agencies, they are jailed, shifted to Tihar jail, the employment meant for them is given to people from outside, their land is given to others, contracts for sand, gravel and other minerals have being given to non-locals…” Mufti said.

She also said that Jammu and Kashmir has been turned into a laboratory and that the political process has been destroyed here.

Mufti said that the mainstream political parties are being bulldozed here. “We are not being allowed to go anywhere. The leaders are being deprived of their security,” PDP chief said, adding that the political process has been destroyed completely here. (With PTI inputs)

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