Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday strongly batted for complete “emotional and psychological” integration of the state with rest of the country, asserting that Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is not a hurdle but a bridge in this direction.
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“When the people of BJP talk of Article 370, they talk of technical integration. We have to make them understand that we also want that Jammu and Kashmir should fully integrate with India emotionally, technically. We are already a part of this country. Who can deny that,” she said while replying to a debate in the Legislative Assembly on Motion of Thanks to the Governor’s address.
“But have we emotionally joined that integration completely which we should have done emotionally and psychologically? No. But that is what is needed, in which (Article) 370 is not an impediment but 370 is a bridge which connects us,” said Mehbooba, who heads PDP.
Hailing the Indian democracy, she said her late father Mufti Sayeed had always believed in it and that was the reason that he had held the flag of mainstream political party (Congress) at an early age long back in 1960s.
“Today we have an opportunity to think about where to move ahead. I am hopeful, as we all say one thing, that an issue, a pain is there, a difficulty is there, solution to which has to be found, for which dialogue should be held.
“But before we speak about dialogue outside, we should ourselves disperse the fear we have. They (BJP) have fear of ‘self-rule’ and autonomy and we have fear that they (BJP) might abrogate Article 370 (which grants special status to the state),” said Mehbooba, who heads a coalition government of PDP and BJP.
The CM said both the parties were fearful of each other but the aim was the same, to see Jammu and Kashmir united, to see it prosper. “We have faith in democracy of this country. We take oath of the Constitution of India and our own Constitution (of J&K), still there are so many doubts as they (BJP) feel that… J&K might slip out of their hands,” she said.
“The Constitution of India and the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir have the capacity to accommodate the desires and wishes of the people on both sides of the divided Kashmir,” she said, adding, “We can fulfill their (Centre’s) aspirations as well, we can fulfill their dreams, but we have to first take out this fear from our hearts.”
Referring to the trouble witnessed in the valley over the last 5-6 months, she said there was a need for introspection. “We all need to look within and see what we can do so that such a situation does not emerge in future, what role we can play to resolve the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, as (her father) Mufti Sahib had said that if somebody has a major role to play in resolving the issue, it is this Assembly,” she said.