Mehbooba asks people to defy highway ban, warns Centre of ‘Palestine-like situation’https://indianexpress.com/article/india/mehbooba-mufti-asks-people-to-defy-highway-ban-warns-centre-of-palestine-like-situation-5669328/

Mehbooba asks people to defy highway ban, warns Centre of ‘Palestine-like situation’

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister asked the people of the state to defy the highway ban and alleged it was another attempt to "subjugate" them.

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The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister asked the people of the state to defy the highway ban and alleged it was another attempt to “subjugate” them. (PTI File photo)

Asking people to defy the highway ban, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday stepped up her tirade against the Centre, warning it against turning relations with Jammu and Kashmir into an Israel-Palestine type confrontation.

“I think this (J-K’s relation with the Union of India) is not an Israel-Palestine relation. If the government of India wants to convert our relation like the Palestine-Israel, then they will have to be ready for Palestine-like situation as well,” Mehbooba told reporters here.

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister asked the people of the state to defy the highway ban and alleged it was another attempt to “subjugate” them.

“This ban is another attempt to suppress the people of Jammu and Kashmir and is an attack on the state’s economy and the fundamental rights of the people.

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“I have said this earlier as well and say it again that the people should defy this ban. People should drive their vehicles on the highway. We will see what they will do. We have taken this issue to the court and a decision will come soon,” she said.

According to an order issued on April 3 by state Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra, no civilian traffic will be allowed to move from Baramulla in north Kashmir to Udhampur in Jammu region on Sundays and Wednesdays till May 31.

Defending the move, the Union Home Ministry said Wednesday that the step has been taken to ensure safe movement of forces and that reasonable restriction have been imposed for 12 hours only on two days in a week.

The ministry said an impression is being created by some individuals that the national highway has been closed for civilians which is “farthest from the truth”.During this period of 12 hours, alternative routes like old national highway and other internal roads are available for commutation of civilians without any hassle.

Asked about a PIL seeking ban against her and National Conference leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah from contesting Lok Sabha polls, Mehbooba Mufti said, “If the BJP abrogates Article 370, then the Constitution of India will not apply here and so, we will automatically be debarred from contesting the polls and in that case, they will not have to work hard”.

The PDP president while reacting to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks that he thinks there may be a better chance of peace talks with India if BJP wins the general election due to begin on Thursday, Mehbooba Mufti said her father and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed held the same view when he formed an alliance with the BJP in 2015.

“That is what Mufti thought. He knew that a BJP prime minister, who has support of Jan Sangh, the RSS and Shiv Sena, if he wants to make use of the opportunity, then he can talk to Pakistan like (former prime minister Atal Bihari) Vajpayee,” she said. However, Mehbooba said Modi lost a golden opportunity by not making use of it to start a dialogue with Pakistan.

“Now, if Modi gets re-elected, then like Imran Khan, we too hope that he starts a dialogue with Pakistan and Modi makes full use of another opportunity,” she said.

During an interaction with a small group of foreign journalists in Islamabad, Khan had said he believes there may be a better chance of peace talks with India and settling the Kashmir issue if Modi’s party BJP wins the general elections.

Khan said other parties would be afraid of right-wing backlash in case of a settlement on the Kashmir issue.

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