At an event in the national capital, Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti said that the state “would not exist” without the special status it is accorded. She was speaking at the conference — “Under-standing Kashmir”, organised by the Bureau of Research on Industry & Economic Funda-mentals (BRIEF), a socio-economic consulting group.
The issues CM Mehbooba Mufti addressed in her speech:
1. If the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir is tampered with, or the Permanent Resident Act (35A) — a provision that empowers the state’s permanent residents — removed, there will be “no one to shoulder the Indian flag in the Valley,” she said.
2. Mufti emphasised that the ‘idea of azaadi has to be replaced with a better idea.’ “Are we ready to do that? Or are we depending more on administrative measures or security measures to tackle the situation,” she asked. “We have seen it for the last 70 years that we have not been able to address the real problem… In a state where people are asking for azaadi, if you want to take away what they have (the special status), this system will not work,” the Chief Minister said.
3. On Pakistan, she said, “The process was revived by PM Modi when he went to Pakistan, but unfortunately it was not reciprocated. But we can’t give up.” She said that the PDP-BJP alliance has been put together “with the belief and hope that we will be able to revive the magic of Vajpayee ji’s time.”
4. Mehbooba said that the implementation of the “agenda of alliance” has not been conducive. “… I would not blame the BJP leadership alone. The circumstances did not give us enough time to work on those things.”