Hours after she resigned as Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir following the BJP’s decision to pull out of the coalition government, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti Tuesday said her government “did everything that we could manage to do to address the situation on the ground” because “we are convinced that a muscular policy will never work and the only way forward is our healing touch policy… Kashmir is not an enemy territory”.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Mehbooba said: “We are in good spirits. We have no regrets”. She said her party did not want to attempt another government formation. “I have sent my resignation to the Governor Sahib (N N Vohra), saying we don’t want to explore any other alliance,’’ she said.
“Our alliance with the BJP was against the temperament of our people. But there was a much bigger reason for this alliance. The situation in J&K is not an ordinary situation. It has three distinct regions — Jammu, Kashmir Valley and Ladakh. The basic mandate was also fragmented along these lines. We wanted to adhere to this basic mandate of the people.”
“My father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, was convinced that unless we involve the central leadership, leaders who are in power in Delhi, no government here will be able to deliver. Without such a coalition government, we were convinced that the state in its current shape would disintegrate,’’ she said.
“We negotiated an agenda of alliance where we ensured that the BJP scaled down. For example, there was apprehension among people that once the BJP becomes part of the coalition government, there will be threat to Article 370. We persuaded them to have status quo on Article 370 and Article 35A. That was part of our agenda of alliance. We defended (Article) 370 inside the court too. We ensured that our government defends Article 35 A in the court,” Mehbooba said.
“We pushed for a policy of reconciliation and convinced them (Centre) to grant amnesty to 11,000 youth booked for stone-pelting. There was an offer for dialogue at the Home Minister’s level. We had convinced them (Centre) to announce a unilateral ceasefire during the month of Ramzan. We did everything that we could manage to do to address the situation on the ground,’’ she said.
“It is our firm resolve that a muscular policy will never work to address the situation on the ground. Kashmir is not an enemy territory, and with or without us, things will never change on the ground without the healing touch policy. That’s the only way,” she said.
She said “there was fear and insecurity among the minorities in Jammu once the BJP came to power with us. We tried our level-best to address that too. We acted in the case of the rape and murder of an eight-year-old Bakerwal girl. We did not let the investigation into this heinous crime get derailed at any level. Everybody knows how we handled it. Similarly, there was a case of cow vigilantism. We took a firm stand. In this case, seven persons were arrested which hasn’t happened anywhere else in the country. This is perhaps the only case of cow vigilantism where police acted swiftly to uphold the law. We tried our best to keep Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh together,” she said.
Earlier, addressing a press conference, Mehbooba said: “We didn’t stitch this alliance for power. If we had done it for power, then Omar (Abdullah) Sahib and Congress were ready to support us. It had big objectives. What were those big objectives? The big objective was unilateral ceasefire, the big objective was offer of dialogue, the big objective was the Prime Minister’s visit to Pakistan, the big objective was the withdrawal of FIRs against 11,000 youth.’’
She said the reason why her government pushed for a unilateral ceasefire was to provide relief to the people. “We have always believed that muscular policy will not work in Jammu and Kashmir. J&K is not an enemy territory. This is the territory of people of Jammu and Kashmir. That’s why a muscular policy will not succeed here… talks should happen with Pakistan and talks should also happen with the people here,’’ she said.