New Delhi – Reiterating that there will be no compromise on Article 370, former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday said that the people of J&K will fight for the restoration of the special status of the erstwhile state even if takes years.
Ms Mehbooba said that she made these remarks during the all-party meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Thursday.
The former chief minister said that she congratulated the PM that they talked to Pakistan which led to a ceasefire and less infiltration.
“The meeting between J&K leaders and the PM took place in conducive atmosphere… I informed him about the issues confronted by the people of J&K. People of J&K are in a lot of difficulties after August 5, 2019. They’re angry, upset and emotionally shattered. They feel humiliated… I told the PM that people of J&K don’t accept the manner in which Article 370 was abrogated on August 5, 2019 unconstitutionally, illegally and immorally,” Ms Mehbooba told reporters here after attending the All Party Meeting.
“Like BJP struggled for 70 years to abrogate Article 370, illegally and unconstitutionally, the people of J&K will struggle constitutionally, democratically, peacefully for the restoration of the special status of J&K. Be it months or years, we’ll restore Article 370 in J&K as it’s a matter of our identity,” she said.
Ms Mehbooba said the special status of J&K was not given by Pakistan, but by our country, by Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel. “This Act defines the identity of the people and safeguards our land and our jobs. So there will be no compromise on this issue,” she said.
The former chief minister said that she congratulated the PM that they talked to Pakistan which led to ceasefire and less infiltration. “I told him (the PM) that the Centre is holding talks with China. Similarly, for peace of J&K if they’ve to talk to Pakistan again, they should do that,” she said.
Ms Mehbooba said that she told the PM that the Centre should also talk to Pakistan about trade with the neighbouring country along the Line of Control (LoC) that has halted. “Be it from Uri- Muzaffarabad or though Jammu, it’s a source of employment for many people,” she said.
The former chief minister said that the harassment of people, including journalists, for speaking their minds should be stopped immediately. “UAPA is imposed on anyone who speaks his mind… everyone is harassed… it has to stop. Political detainees should be released immediately,” she said.
Ms Mehbooba said that she also demanded that the land, jobs, and minerals of J&K should be protected. “People who have suffered due post-August 5, 2019 should be compensated. I particularly informed the PM that the people are suffering in J&K,” she added.
Prime Minister Modi chaired a meeting of 14 leaders from eight political parties in J&K on Thursday to discuss the future course of action for the Union Territory. This was the first such initiative by the Centre since the abrogation of the special status of the erstwhile state of J&K on August 5, 2019.
The Centre had invited four former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mehbooba Mufti, besides four Deputy Chief Ministers – Muzafar Hussain Beigh, Tara Chand, Nirmal Singh and Kavinder Gupta. Leaders of six other political parties — Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami of CPI(M), Sajad Gani Lone of Peoples Conference, Mohammad Altaf Bukhari of Apni Party, Prof Bhim Singh of Panthers Party, Ravinder Raina of BJP and G A Mir of Congress – were also invited in the meeting.