‘CM is invested more in Delhi’

“The country (India) has not acceded with the people of Kashmir but with a particular party or family. They (New Delhi) are not ready to trust beyond that family. They don’t even trust mainstream parties – not all of them,” Mehbooba Mufti in an interview with Tasavur Mushtaq.

Mehbooba Mufti (14)

Kashmir Life: Where has Omar Abdullah gone wrong. What are the main failures?

Mehbooba Mufti: Well basically Farooq Abdullah was projected as chief minister and later Omar Abdullah came as surprise.  I would also like to accept one thing that though people were disappointed when National Conference came but when youth saw Omar is there, they started to have some kind of hope. But I feel from the day one he does not seem to have any kind of vision.How he wants to go about.How to deal a political problem. How to go about a development.  Whether he is young, younger or whatever you call it, but at the end of day he is heading the government, so he is the leader. He has to lead. Not only his party but also the coalition government.  There I feel that he does not seem to have any idea. If you ask me I can count you dozens of things we were able to do in our tenure. If you ask them (NC) what their achievement is for all these three years on development side, political side or on any side, you have nothing to talk about. That is why I feel he is not seen as the leader who could lead his party, government or who could be taken seriously.  There is hardly any accountability because when a Chief Minister is engaged in a struggle for survival, all his team starting from his ministers to bureaucracy, everybody is in a chaos and some of them are taking advantage of this kind of instability and plundering the state.

KL:  Your Government last time did revoke POTA. It was a huge relief at that point of time. But will the leader of biggest opposition of the state be gracious in giving credit to Omar Abdullah for trying to amend the Public Safety Act (PSA) and trying to create debate  and setting a deadline on AFSPA ?

MM: You know the incidents have been taking place and we don’t know what is happening. It is for the government to explain that this should not happen.  But at the same time these incidents should not become an excuse or obstacle for not revocation of AFSPA from different areas. I also would like to add that chief minister is heading the unified headquarters.  It is his responsibility that before making an announcement he should have/ must have discussed all these matters so that there is no noise and chaos at this point of time. If he was serious definitely Army should not have any arguments because they say they were not involved.  I am also just thinking that if he has not discussed it, if he has just announced it, there may a be a chance because corruption,  death in custody of  very close associate of their family and their family being blamed for taking money for ministerial berths and other things. At the national level for the first time the focus was getting to his misgovernance, failures and corruption. Which is something that is happening in every part of country. You have ex chief ministers being jailed, ministers in jails, present chief ministers presenting themselves in the court so somehow it was also started catching with him. Is it his desperate attempt to announce something without doing the homework on the ground or does he really mean business.  Because if he really means business then this he does not need to beat around the bush, he can withdraw the disturbed areas act and the things can fall in to place. Again the places he has chosen which we have hear about , you know it as  well as I know  what does it matter revocation of AFSPA in Samba or Jammu town or far that matter even Srinagar town.  I hope it is not one more diversion tactic, it is really serious because we have had many serious issues about fake encounters. Though I would also like to add that last year in 120 killings army was not involved. There were CRPF or police but at the same time every time there is the fake encounter people cross their fingers because we don’t know who has been killed. Army has been there for such a long time. The army came when situation was bad, now things are under control. They have done their job. it is high time people should get relief. SoI think withdrawal of troops and revocation of AFSPA that has been discussed in the round table as well is something that should not be denied to the people of Kashmir but the only thing is how serious is this government .

KL: Where does the fault lie? If the same law is applicable in Delhi, why not in Srinagar?

MM: I think mindset in Delhi. The country has not acceded with the people of Kashmir but with a particular party or family. They are not ready to trust beyond that family. They don’t even trust mainstream parties -not all of them.

KL: You talk about institutions. At one point of time your party decided as a mark of protest to withdraw your deputy speaker. Then you sent him back again. If that was the only way to protest but you compromised. In such case how can you make the institutions credible?

MM: We didn’t compromise at the time when deputy speaker was humiliated. Ultimately everybody intervened continuously for six days. We thought that this should not sideline the real issue and not become the ego factor between the two parties. It was related to our family and we thought not to make it an issue between the two families.

KL: What could be done to make it more credible?

MM: How it would have mattered if we had discussed Afzal Guru Issue in Assembly. I have been discussing it with so many people. If it can happen in Tamil Nadu why not in Kashmir. If you say Guru should be hanged to establish rule of law. Kashmiris would have accepted it , have they been able to punish a single person, whether it was last year, Pathribal encounter, Machil encounter. If  GOI want to hang Guru to establish rule of law, then it should be uniform for all . I don’t think Raju Gandhi was less symbol then Indian parliament. It was congress that intervened and got Nailini’s death sentence  commuted to life imprisonment on humanitarian grounds. All these things are happening. Why do you deprive Kashmiri especially assembly which people have given blood to be there. With lot of work people with the passage of time has placed some faith in it. They were not marking us as puppets. What would have happen if we have passed resolution appealing president of India for clemency. That is very unfortunate. Secondly this forum should not have been used for naming rape victims. Thirdly I would also say that the way speaker behaves, language he uses and chief minister is sitting and enjoying, it is very unfortunate.

KL: Do you think it was a mistake to withdraw support from congress in 2008?

MM: Not at all. I feel there should be accountability. We have made ourselves accountable. We committed mistake and did everything to rectify it. We sacrificed power to get order revoked as it was not happening when we still were there. God forbid If it will happen again in future as far as I am concerned, I would always put people’s faith before power.

KL:  After the death of Muhammad Yousuf, for two three days there was much hue and cry. Then Chief Minister went to Delhi, everything silenced. Is he better connected than you in Delhi?

MM: Without any doubt he definitely is. He is investing more in Delhi than in people here and we invest more here. Not that we have arrogance. We also know that better relations with Delhi are reason for bringing change in J&K but it should not be at the cost of people of J&K. It should not be for your personal survival. Mehbooba mufti is ready to beg at every politician’s door to make things happen for people of J&K.  if having relation  with Delhi is only to be in the chair, than I am not for that. If every day people see Delhi coming to my rescue what is the fun. We should stand and be able to talk to Delhi as partners. Taking up issues with them on equal footing and be able to persuade them.

KL:Where is Government of India’s insecurity placed in Kashmir?

MM: It is the mistrust.  Unfortunately our leadership has also been involved in it.  I would say with lot of respect and humility that when sheikh Sahab had take up a decision to go with India on whatever conditions, then he should not have played double game. He should not have made you turn after planting the seed of plebiscite and self determination for 22 years in the mind of Kashmiris. Then again he made another you turn without getting anything for the people not even a Muzaffarabad road.  At the same time same party surrendered everything be it water resources, Hydel projects.  Unfortunately Delhi is investing in the politicians they chose at the cost of the people. You can’t expect good results if you are doing it at the cost of people’s faith.

KL: Do you think Kashmiris will ever trust Delhi after what has happened to them. One generation is lost?

MM: That is very right but if you look at Kashmiri people they can be won over very easily as they are hurt very easily. In our tenure we did not bring stars from sky, we just provided them some kind of relief.  Just imagine when Vajpayee came how people received him and even today how fondly people talk about Vajpayee though he is a BJP leader. Last year Mani Shankar Aiyar spoke about the killings of 120 youth and how boys were praising him on face book. People in Delhi should identify the pain of Kashmiris. They should also cry on the trampling of eight year old boy having candy in his mouth, which does not happen. The day that happens, the relationship of People of J&K with Delhi will change.


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