SRINAGAR: Asserting that dialogue is the solution to long-lasting peace in Jammu and Kashmir, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday said that a country, no matter how powerful, cannot win the war against its people.
Speaking at the seventh death anniversary of her father and PDP founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Mehbooba also hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), saying that the party demolished the identity of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019, and will demolish the identity and essence of the country also, if not stopped.
“Dialogue and reconciliation with the people of Jammu and Kashmir is the only way forward to ensure ever-lasting peace and prosperity in the region. Mufti Saheb maintained this throughout his life but the governments never paid any heed,” said Mehbooba, addressing thousands of PDP workers who had gathered outside the Dara Shikoh garden in Bijbehara in Anantnag, where Mufti Mohammad Sayeed is buried.
“As member of parliament and union home minister, Mufti Saheb strongly advocated for attaining peace through dialogue. He continued doing so as the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir till his death. But no one listened. The BJP claimed it will solve the Kashmir issue but failed,” said Mehbooba, who led the last elected government in Jammu and Kashmir, in coalition with BJP.
“Mufti Saheb always believed that no matter how powerful a country is, it cannot win the war against its people. Had this not been true then America would not have withdrawn from Vietnam, or Bangladesh would not have separated from Pakistan. There is no other solution to the Kashmir issue, but dialogue and reconciliation,” said Mehbooba.
Mufti attacked the BJP, saying it will replace the country’s national flag with a saffron flag.
“We want to tell the people of our country that the BJP, which eroded our constitution in 2019, will destroy the constitution of this country in the time to come. They (BJP) snatched our flag, and in the times to come, they will snatch the Tiranga for which the people of the country gave their blood. They will replace the Tricolour with a saffron flag,” the PDP president said.
She said the BJP has not only eroded J-K’s constitution, but has also “bulldozed” the constitution of India. “By abrogating (Article) 370, they eroded the country’s constitution as well.” she added.
There was a time when a court ruled against then prime minister Indira Gandhi, Mufti said, adding, “Today, our chief justice says the courts are afraid of granting bail. You have to see the difference. Then a court ruled against a PM, now they are afraid of granting bail to innocents.”
Similarly, she said, when riots took place, the media used to question the government, but today, the media is “afraid”.
“If today’s media would have talked, then Stan Swamy would not have died in the jail. The media would have seen how J-K has become a military garrison. There are troops everywhere,” she said.
The PDP president said the party does not have any differences with the Army and they have done their job, but asked if the situation had improved, then why not send the troops back to barracks.
“If the BJP says that the situation in J-K has improved, then send the troops back to barracks. Then AFSPA should be withdrawn. However, you are doing quite the opposite. You are bringing more troops, you are arming the people here. How will this work?
“Which India are you trying to make? This is not the India which Sayeed used to talk about. His face used to light up when he used to talk about India,” she said.
He said many people ask if Sayeed would have been alive, what would he have done?
“Had he been there, then his heart would have broken. This is not his India. This is Godse’s India. We have not joined with this India, but with (MK) Gandhi’s, (Jawahar Lal) Nehru’s and Abul Kalam Azad’s India,” she said.
Accusing the BJP of “destroying” institutions, Mufti said people are being “oppressed”, youth are being arrested and employees sacked.
“But, I want to tell people, do not lose hope. Sayeed would not have lost hope. I want to tell my workers don’t lose hope,” she added.
Meanwhile, Mufti’s daughter Iltija Mufti said there was a huge difference between the India where she was brought up and the today’s India.
“Mother Mary’s statues were vandalised at many places when Christmas was celebrated. This is not Gandhi’s India, but Godse’s,” she said while replying to a reporter’s question about her mother’s remarks that the country today is not the same to which J-K acceded to.