Mehbooba Mufti

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After the humiliating fall of PDP-BJP government, and desertion by half-a-dozen “loyal” lawmakers, everyone started writing former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s political obituary. But two recent key visits in militancy hot-bed south, proved her political opponents wrong, telling them that it is too early to write her off, completely.

The first visit was to small Patipora village in Pulwama, where she visited an active militant’s house to console his sister who was allegedly harassed by police.

Within days Mehbooba took another trip, this time to Safnagari village in Shopian, where she visited slain army man turned militant Idrees Ahmad Mir’s family.

The pictures of Mehbooba sitting side-by-side with militants family members soon started flooded the social media sites, evoking a mix of reaction. But it was tech-savvy former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah who reacted on his twitter and termed Mehbooba’s visits as an “attempt to rehabilitate a badly damaged reputation”.

Omar wrote: “She used militants by sanctioning their deaths to appease the BJP and now she uses dead militants to try to appease the voter. Just how gullible does she think people are?”

His tweets triggered a war of words on the social media between NC and PDP loyalists, lead by Omar and Mehbooba.

Within no time Mehbooba reacted and wrote: “It was your duty as an opposition leader to reach out to these families, just like I did during your tenure as CM. I visited families that lost members who were killed during a fake encounter at Machil, during 2010 unrest & Shopian rape and murder case.”

Independent lawmaker Er Rasheed seconded Omar and said: “She is degrading political values. Her every word is eroding the credibility of the entire political spectrum. Her words just bring bad name and abuses to Entire mainstream politics. She needs to show some self-respect and should not believe Kashmiris are like cabbages & garbage.”

Soon, social media users started reminding Mehbooba of her infamous toffee, milk and toys comment, that she made at a press conference while sitting next to Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh, at the peak of post-Burhan Wani killing protests. Even her former collation partner BJP didn’t shy from reminded Mehbooba of her comments where she justified killing of small children by the army in Kulgam.

However, despite the criticism and brickbats, Mehbooba has visited two militancy hot-bed areas other politicians dare not to go.

As part of her “outreach” Mehbooba rang up Mirwaiz Umar Farooq after a group of boys jumped on Jamia Masjid’s pulpit wearing shoes, waving Islamic State (IS) flags. Umar was quick to remind Mehbooba that during her government the same Jamia was kept shut for 15 consecutive Fridays’.

– Tahir Bhat

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