SRINAGAR: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti hit out at the Central government on Monday over the economy of the Union territory and the recent dismissal of government employees.
“There is no policy… unemployment and inflation is rising. They used to say Jammu and Kashmir is backward (but) we’re ahead on several indices. If their onslaught over economy continues, our situation will become worse than Gujarat as far as poverty is concerned,”Mehbooba said.
She said abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution that granted special status to the erstwhile state seemed to have been carried out to rob Jammu & Kashmir of its resources.
“It seems the only motive behind the abrogation was to loot J&K. People from outside are being given top positions at Chenab Valley Power Projects. Our water and electricity are going outside. Our transporters are in trouble. They have to pay toll taxes and more,” Mehbooba said.
“There is no benefit for the people, including those belonging to Jammu division. People are suffering since the scrapping of Article 370. Many new orders are coming up everyday, including the recent one on ending the ‘darbar’ move. Our identity is at stake,” she said, adding the attempts are being made to turn Jammu to a hub of liquor mafias.
She said this was not related to business, but only provided an opportunity to the people of Jammu and Kashmir divisions to interact and have cultural ties. Its scrapping was disappointing.
She added that articles 370, 35 (A) of the Constitution and other domicile laws were not granted by any foreign country, but introduced by the then ruler Hari Singh. “Even before the nation gave us these, the Maharaja had brought it to protect the identity of people of J&K. When people decided to be a part of India, he said that we have these laws that have to be upheld,” Mufti said. The two articles were scrapped by the Narendra Modi-led government in August 2019 and the state was bifurcated into two Union territories.
Mufti said she would not take part in the electoral process until all decisions of August 5,2019, are not revised. “It is an emotional issue for me,” she said.
Regarding the delimitation process, she asked why was there such a hurry to carry out the exercise. “There is something suspicious in this process,” she said.
She said the BJP government at the Centre has no policy for even the Kashmiri Pandits. “They are part and parcel of Kashmir and must be rehabilitated in the valley, there looks like there is no policy for them either.”
She said she did support anybody but children cannot be held responsible for their father’s deeds. Mehbooba said on Sunday the dismissals done on flimsy grounds was criminal and the Centre was continued “disempowering” the people of Jammu and Kashmir in the “garb of pseudo nationalism by trampling” the Constitution.
“I’m not supporting anyone. You cannot hold a child responsible for actions of his father unless and until you have proof. These are not 11 people. They have sacked about 20-25 people this year,” Mufti said.
“I have said this again and again. You can capture a man but not an idea. You have to address the idea, as Vajpayee ji did. Witch-hunting, criminalisation of dissent is taking our nation back,” she added.