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PM has to make efforts to reach out to J&K: Mehbooba Mufti

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had spoken about reducing “dil ki dooriyan (distance between hearts)”, should reach out to the people of J&K, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said.

PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti (Express Photo by Shuaib Masoodi)

ACCUSING THE BJP government of running Jammu and Kashmir like a colony and treating it as a laboratory, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday said the political process in J&K is in a “total limbo”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had spoken about reducing “dil ki dooriyan (distance between hearts)”, should make efforts to reach out to the people of J&K, she said.

The former chief minister said the “reach out” will have to come from the central government and not from the political leadership of J&K as “everything is in the hands of the central government”. She, however, said she has little hope left. Although the Prime Minister had met the political leadership of J&K in June, she said she has not heard from the central government since then.

“The government here has to make the effort. Who are we to make efforts? We have nothing in our hands. Everything is in their hands. Saare barbaadi tho inhone ki. Prime Minister Modi had spoken about reducing dil ki dooriyan. He has to make efforts to reach out to the people of J&K. What can we do. We have nothing to offer. They have many things. They have to reach out to us,” Mufti said when asked whether she will reach out to the government during an interaction with journalists at the Indian Women Press Corps here.

With Supreme Court yet to begin hearing petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into union territories, she said the judiciary, like the media, has “let us down”.

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“In any country… its institutions make the government accountable. The Supreme Court is one of them. Judiciary is one of them. But unfortunately on such a sensitive issue… there had been no hearing for the last two years… you can well imagine where our country is going,” she said.

She said dialogue and reconciliation is the only way forward and argued the that government need not look elsewhere as the A B Vajpayee play book is there. Incidentally, she said that had the Vajpayee government won another term in 2004, a solution could have been found to resolve the J&K issue.

Pointing out that the 2002 Parliament attack happened after the Vajpayee-General Pervez Musharraf Agra summit, she said, “In spite of that there was no war but ceasefire.”

“But unfortunately Vajpayee did not do a Balakot. Perhaps, [had he done that] he would have won one more term and there would have been a solution to the Kashmir problem,” she said.

Accusing the BJP of turning Kashmir into a laboratory, she said the ruling party is using Kashmir to garner votes from the rest of the country.

“The entire country is turning into a country of Godse where minorities, Dalits, Sikhs and even students are being targeted. Students belong to all religions. These [protesting] farmers belong to all religions. They were called Khalistani, students were called tukde-tukde gang. And minorities – be it street hawker, vegetable vendor, film star, doctor or comedian… they are treated as outcasts,” she said.

Mufti rued senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s moves. There is a talk in Congress circles that he is exploring the possibility of floating a regional party. “For me as a Kashmiri, it is very unfortunate. It is going to divide the secular vote further. Congress’s vote is going to get divided and it is going to benefit the BJP there,” she said.

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