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”, J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Friday. Speaking at an event in the national capital, she said that J&K “would not exist” without the special status it is accorded.
On the recent arrest of separatists in Kashmir, Mufti stated that NIA arrests are “administrative measures, and administrative measures only contain the issue — they do not resolve it.”
In Srinagar, DGP S P Vaid told the media, “All law enforcement agencies were in unison. We have no differences. We did support them (NIA). When the raids were conducted, the Jammu and Kashmir Police was with them.”
At the conference — “Under-standing Kashmir”, organised by the Bureau of Research on Industry & Economic Funda-mentals (BRIEF), a socio-economic consulting group — 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.
Mufti added that Pakistan has to play a positive role in the process “that was revived by 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 in the state has been put together “with the belief and hope that we will be able to revive the magic of Vajpayee ji’s time.”
Referring to Prime Minister Modi’s leadership as an asset that needs to be harnessed, Mufti said that Modi was the man of the moment and has the potential to rise and become a man of history. She also stated that the idea of India is incomplete without the idea of Kashmir.
Mehbooba said 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.”