Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti said on Monday that militancy was on the rise in Kashmir, even as she said that dialogue with Pakistan and stakeholders in Jammu & Kashmir was important to bring peace to the region.
Mufti on Monday visited Jammu for the first time after her release from a 14-month detention following the revocation of the special status to Jammu & Kashmir. Speaking against the Centre’s move in August last year, Mufti said the “arbitrary and illegal decision” forced youngsters to pick up arms.
“Today, 10-15 young men are joining militancy from each village because the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has suppressed their voices. People don’t have any option left. Faced with the option of either going to jail or picking up arms, they choose to pick up arms and die. As the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] doesn’t allow people to speak, they are ready to explode,” she said.
Asking the Centre to hold dialogue with Pakistan in a bid to bring border skirmishes to an end and restore peace, she said: “If you can talk to China, why can’t you talk to Pakistan? We have been pleading with China to give us our land back but they are not budging from their stand. Why can’t we talk to Pakistan?” She said that there was no other way to resolve the Kashmir issue than the one shown by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. “My father (Mufti Mohammad Sayeed) always wanted to see border opened between India and Pakistan. Let J&K become a bridge of peace between India and Pakistan,” she added.
“We have to take a leaf out of that book and start a dialogue with them (Pakistan) and with the stakeholders in J&K. When we can hold eight rounds of talks with China which martyred our 20 soldiers and we did not even raise our finger,” she said.
“Our jobs, natural resources and land… everything has been put on sale by the BJP. Article 370 was a protective shield provided by Maharaja Hari Singh to protect the distinct Dogra identity and culture under the Indian Constitution. However, the BJP has desecrated Dr BR Ambedkar’s Constitution,” she added.
“Article 370 is not linked to Muslims or Hindus. It was enacted to protect the identity of J&K,” Mufti said.
The BJP recently said that Mufti was attempting to disturb peace in the region by instigating the people of Kashmir. Jammu & Kashmir BJP president Ravinder Raina said that “no power on earth” could restore Article 370.