Centre turned J&K into a prison, distributed its assets to outsiders: Mehbooba Mufti

JAMMU — Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday attacked the BJP-led Centre and accused it of undermining the locals’ rights by granting power projects, land, sapphire mines, lithium deposits, and water resources to outsiders.

She said the Centre has turned J&K into a “prison,” where freedom of speech is curtailed and people are repressed.

Mufti dismissed Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s remarks on restoring statehood to Jammu and Kashmir as a mere “rhetoric to win votes” and said his party had snatched the region’s identity and knocked its people down.

“BJP converted Jammu and Kashmir into a prison. Nobody can talk freely here. Nobody is happy in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Neither Dogra of Jammu nor Buddhist of Ladakh are happy, forget about the people of Kashmir, who are terrorised. There has been no development during BJP rule,” Mufti said while addressing the public during a roadshow in Rajouri.

“Our assets are being sold. Power projects, lands, sand, sapphire mines, lithium deposits, and water resources have been given to outsiders. We get costly power while maximum power supply is generated from our resources,” Mufti said.

Campaigning in the Rajouri-Poonch belt, a part of the Anantnag-Rajouri seat, Mufti asserted that the revocation of Article 370 had caused more harm than good.

Mufti is contesting the election from Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat and will face National Conference’s candidate Mian Altaf Ahmed as her main rival.

Objecting to the claims of development in J&K post abrogation of Article 370, she said, “Where is the development? Why has there been high unemployment in J&K for the last five years? All recruitment are ridden with scams.”

The Lok Sabha elections in the redrawn Anantnag-Rajouri constituency were initially slated for May 7 but were rescheduled to May 25 after several parties requested a change in date.

“I have come here to seek your votes so that I can represent you in parliament. Please come out of your homes on May 25 and vote for me,” the former J&K chief minister said.

Mufti said the Union Territory needs a railway line and tunnel on the Mughal road for a better connectivity of the area with the rest of Jammu and Kashmir and pledged to have them made if she gets elected.

She said J&K is unique in that people of different faiths here have always lived together in peace.

“Despite Jammu and Kashmir being a Muslim-majority region, Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists live together. There is no such state. It is our uniqueness. We have different languages, different dresses, but we live together in a peaceful way,” she said.

Mufti said that she has not come here to seek votes in the name of the alliance, community, or her party but because of the demotion of Jammu and Kashmir to a Union Territory and snatching its inhabitants’ identity.

Mufti alleged that the BJP has been threatening the public to vote for its proxies “or face the 1947 situation.” “Should you be giving votes to such a party with the power to create such a situation?” she asked the public.

Mufti also took exception with the Election Commission of India for its deferring polls, and alleged that the postponement was to facilitate a particular candidate.

“You should ensure that the candidate loses his deposit,” she urged the voters.

Mufti said that she was not seeking votes in the name of the alliance but on back of the work done by her father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, another former J&K CM.

She credited her father with bringing peace in the region and taking several developmental initiatives for it, including the construction of the Mughal road, reopening of the Rawalkot cross-border road, and establishing the Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University.

Responding to BJP’s accusations of dynasticism, Mufti said that her father had been chief minister for just three years and she for only two years.

“How is it a dynastic rule? Why did the BJP stand at my door with hands folded for three months? Please ask them” she said.

On her support to Rahul Gandhi and the Congress, Mufti said, “I am with them for a big cause, not just for fighting elections.” — (PTI)