Press Trust of india

Mehbooba’s daughter, Iltija, dives in to test political waters

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Srinagar: PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter Iltija Mufti will hold a fortnightly interactive session with people, the party has announced, a move which many viewed as an exercise before she takes the political plunge.

The party on Friday posted a two-minute-video on its Twitter handle with the hashtag “#AapKiBaatIltijaKeSaat”.

“An air of despondency & despair has seeped through Kashmir. Everyday new blows are inflicted on us & it’s important we #SpeakUp. The purpose of these fortnightly videos is to throw light on issues & decisions that affect our lives. #AapKiBaatIltijaKeSaat,” the party said in the tweet.

In the video, Iltija, 34, says Jammu and Kashmir is passing through its worst phase in history.

“An administration, a dispensation that is destitute of any vision has pushed our state into chaos. All the secular and democratic foundational values of the country are being trampled upon and this is happening at a time when preparations are underway to turn the secular and democratic India into a Hindu rashtra,” she said.

Its “disastrous consequences” on the country’s only Muslim-majority state cacanot be overlooked, she said.

“Along with our basic rights, our freedom of expression has been throttled. An atmosphere of silence and fear has been created in J-K and the price of speaking up truth has to be borne by the people now,” she said.

“In such terrible circumstances, it is imperative to speak up against the injustices and cruelty inflicted upon us. The aim of this video is to start a conversation amongst us because even after stripping us of our rights and dignity, our voice cannot be snatched from us. J-K is filled with an air of despondency and helplessness,” she said.

She said, “I hope that by speaking to you through this medium we are able to kick-start a discussion and shed light on the miseries that we all are facing simply because of our identity.” Iltija came into limelight in the aftermath of the Centre’s August 5, 2019 decisions to revoke Jammu and Kashmir special status and bifurcate the state into Union territories.

Several top and middle-rung mainstream politicians, including Mehbooba Mufti, were jailed and Iltija had taken over the Twitter handle of her mother during her 20-month incarceration.

She also appeared in the national and international TV media during those months, portraying herself as the voice of the party, especially her mother.

PDP insiders said this is the kick-start of a much-speculated political plunge by Iltija, who is known for her fierce views.

“With (Mehbooba’s father and party founder) Mufti (Mohammad) Sayeed no more, (Mehbooba’s brother) Tassaduq (Hussain) out of public sight and many senior leaders of the PDP having deserted Mehbooba, the entry of Iltija into Jammu and Kashmir politics ahead of likely assembly polls is a morale booster for the PDP president,” a party leader said.

He said while so far she has maintained that her views were personal, the posting of the video on the party’s official Twitter handle has left little to imagination.

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