Won’t Raise Any Other Flag Till J&K’s Flag, Constitution Is Returned: Mehbooba Mufti

by Saifullah Bashir and Shakir Ashraf

SRINAGAR: In her first press conference after being released from detention, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Friday they will continue the fight to bring back the state flag and special status.

PDP President Mehbooba Mufti addressing a maiden press conference on Friday, October 23, 2020, after her release of detention. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

Donning green attire, Mufti started with condemning harassment on journalists.  “I want to appreciate you (media) for highlighting the ground situation by risking your life,” Mehbooba said, adding that “youth are being booked for a normal Facebook post”.

Talking on the current situation of Jammu and Kashmir she said that “We need to unite and then we can fight, no doubt we might face difficulties”.

Placing former state flag along with the party flag in front of her table she said that “When I was in jail, I thought PDP has vanished but my workers continue to stand with agenda, made by late Mufti Mohammad Sayed.”

She said that people of Jammu and Kashmir are shell shocked after August 5, 2019 decision. “It seems that people have lost all hopes,” she added.

Commenting on article 370 she said that “On August 2019 dacoity took place and GOI illegally read down special status, they themselves tempered the sacred constitution but they do not have any power to do so”, said Mehbooba.

“A robber may be mighty, but he has to return the stolen goods. They demolished the Constitution… Parliament had no power to taken away special status,” she told reporters. “Dictatorship will not continue for long,” she said.

She said that as former CM Dr Farooq Abdullah talked about the August 5 he was called by ED for questioning.  She said that “under the chairmanship of Farooq Abdullah we formed people alliances so that we can fight together”.

Mehbooba said that through different means, the centre government left no stone unturned to discourage and silent mainstream parties, but till the release from jail, we did not let our agenda to be dilated.

Targeting BJP she said that BJP passed CAA and anti-farmer bill in parliament but they should know that nation cannot be run on the wishes of government nor can they replace Indian constitution with their personal manifesto.  “BJP has nothing to show the world but they are fooling people that free COVID-19 vaccine will be given,” she said.

She said that I want to convey the message to people who are sitting in Delhi darbar that Kashmir issue is a real issue. “By closing eyes pigeon cannot save himself from the cat. Your existence will be erased,” she said.

“Our economy is worse than in Bangladesh. They have demonised Muslims, Dalits all downtrodden communities. PDP always wanted to bring peace to this place,” she said.

She said due to the centre’s decision China has now come in the ring and almost 1000 kilometres have been taken by them.

Mehbooba said that “I will not hesitate to give my blood for the restoration of special status, though we do not want violence we are being provoked by implementing harsh laws like domicile etc.”

She said that for centre people of Jammu and Kashmir are expandable; all they want is territory and resources.

Mehbooba said that we had acceded with secular India but we are not comfortable with today’s India where minorities have no rights and people of Jammu and Kashmir have lost its dignity.

“It is not impossible to get our old position back. This is a political fight and through non-violence, we will win, ”she added.

Asked about Geelani’s refusal to talk with the delegation from centre, Mehbooba said the refusal to meet the delegation led to the huge losses, adding that “It was the not delegation of BJP leaders. If Geelani was not willing to talk, he should have at least allowed them to enter the house. But restricting their entry in the home has portrayed a different picture of Kashmir,” she said.

On a question to a reporter, whether you will hold the Tri-colour or not she said that “My flag is this (pointing to the J&K flag on the table in front of her). When this flag comes back, we’ll raise that flag (tricolour) too. Until we get our own flag back, we won’t raise any other flag…This flag forged our relationship with that flag.”

“Our relationship with the flag of this country is not independent of this flag (Jammu and Kashmir’s flag). When this flag comes in our hand, we will raise that flag too.”

Mehbooba said that it is my personal view that “I have nothing to do with elections nor am I interested”, she said, replying to a question.

Commenting on participating in BDC elections she said that decision regarding to this is under process and it is the party who is going to decide.

Mehbooba Mufti was released from 14 months detention on October 13, after the J&K government revoked her detention under the Public Safety Act (PSA).

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