New Delhi: Hailing the ‘award wapsi’ (return of awards) as the ‘beauty of democracy”, PDP supremo Mehbooba Mufti said that Indian democracy allowed its citizens to register their protests.
Speaking at a talk show organised by a news channel in Delhi, she said, “We should be proud of Indian democracy that we can register our protest like this as well.”
She further said that India was a unique nation with unity in diversity as its core strength and some “fringe elements, who combine pseudo Hinduism with nationalism”, misled people in the country.
Speaking on whether the ‘award wapsi’ was manufactured, she said, “I don’t think so. The award winners are intelligent and can’t be swayed by anyone.”
Stating that intolerance would not be beneficial for the country, she said that the issue was hindering the progress of the nation.
On the issue of consuming beef, she said, “All this discourse is sickening. All religions have contributed to India’s growth where Hinduism has taught us to be tolerant, Islam has taught us equality and Christianity shows us compassion.”
Hinting that ISIS was not a threat in Kashmir, Mufti said, “ISIS does not represent Islam, they are killing Muslims, preaching that atrocities be committed. Islam in Kashmir is different and teaches us to live with neighbours in peace. ISIS will never be a threat to Kashmir.”
She mentioned that the fluttering of the ISIS flags in the region was a publicity stunt and the media had overhyped it.
Urging the media to play a constructive role, She urged the fourth pillar of democracy to be vigilant against the spread of any false propaganda.
New Delhi, August 28, 2016: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday attacked Pakistan and separatist leaders, while she was in Delhi, for inciting trouble in the state, but later in Srinagar, her tone and tenor changed- from being angry to conciliatory.
During her meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi in the morning, Mehbooba lashed out at Pakistan – in a first for the fiery woman Kashmiri politician known for her soft spot towards Islamabad.
But after she reached Srinagar, her office issued a statement giving a more placatory picture.
The statement said during her talks with Modi, Mehbooba was said to have advocated a “reconciliatory” approach towards separatists as well as Pakistan for peace in Kashmir.
“Mehbooba outlined a three-pronged action plan before the Prime Minister for the resolution of the Kashmir issue, including involvement of separatists and Pakistan in substantive dialogue, to work out a solution to the problem in light of the contemporary geopolitical realities,” the statement quoted the Chief Minister as saying.
However, when she addressed the media in Delhi after her 45-minute meeting with Modi, she came out strongly against Pakistan accusing it of creating the ongoing trouble in Kashmir where people seething with anger have been persistently holding violent anti-government protests for the past 50 days.
At least 71 persons – including two policemen – have been killed since the July 8 killing of pro-Pakistan Hizbul Mujahideen’s Kashmir commander Burhan Wani.
“I want to tell Pakistan, if it has any sympathy for Kashmiris, it should stop provoking (Kashmiris) to attack police stations,” she said in Delhi, asking Islamabad to mend its ways and stop triggering violence and causing deaths in the valley.
But the statement issued in Srinagar said that Mehbooba spoke about “the reconciliation and resolution process with a fresh resolve”, urging Modi “to take bold political initiatives on Kashmir as was done by (his predecessor) Vajpayee”.
She stressed on “the need for initiating a credible and meaningful political action on the ground to make peace and stability a reality in the state” and invited the separatist Hurriyat Conference for “a meaningful dialogue process for the peaceful resolution” of the Kashmir issue.
During her days in the opposition Mehbooba – a strong votary of self-rule – openly used to question Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India. “Accession of Jammu and Kashmir with India has proved counter-productive,” she once said at a north Kashmir political rally.
Mehbooba’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is a relatively new entrant in the ideologically divided political spheres of Jammu and Kashmir, where nurturing a pro-Pakistan sentiment has been a potent tool for politicians since long to attract voters.
Former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) head A.S. Dulat has succinctly described in his memoir “Kashmir: Vajpayee years” this character of Kashmiri politicians “speaking in different voices” in Srinagar, in Jammu and Delhi – right from Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah to Mehbooba.
Dulat wrote about politicians’ liking for the green colour in Kashmir where almost all political parties except for the National Conference and Peoples Conference have green party flags.
“When Muslim United Front (MUF) was formed in 1987, it chose green as its flag’s colour. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti’s favourite colour is green, which she uses while campaigning. All militant organisations make free use of green,” Dulat writes.
Mehbooba also drapes herself in full green during public rallies in Kashmir. She has a pen and inkpot as her party symbol – the same that Syed Salahuddin, the supreme commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit, used when he fought the infamously rigged assembly election of 1987. (IANS)
Kashmir newspapers are expected to hit the stands on Thursday, July 20, after the government on Wednesday “apologised” for media curbs and assured Srinagar-based editors that their work won’t be hindered by the heightened security in the wake of unrest that has left over 40 people dead and hundreds injured in the Kashmir Valley.
The government had put curbs on the media on Saturday, July 16, and lifted the ban on Tuesday, saying the decision taken at some “local” level was a “mistake”.
But newspapers refused print runs, alleging that the authorities were putting the onus on them and denying that the government had banned newspaper publications in the valley.
The logjam was resolved in a meeting on Wednesday between Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and editors of Srinagar-based newspapers.
According to an official spokesperson, Mehbooba Mufti urged the media to play “a responsive and proactive role in tiding over the enormous challenges” facing the state and its people.
The Chief Minister told the editors that the government was “committed to the independence of media at all costs and complaints of high-handedness against the press, if any, amid prevailing situation will be looked into”.
“Though there has been no deliberate attempt on the part of the government to impose any restrictions on the publication of newspapers. However, whatever has happened, because of some communication gap, is regrettable,” Mehbooba Mufti told them, according to a statement.
The Chief Minister assured the editors that the government would facilitate “smooth movement of journalists and other newspaper staff to ensure that they can perform their professional duties in a hassle-free manner”.
The editors in a statement said that the Chief Minister “apologised” to them for the decision that was “unintended”.
The editors later decided to resume publication “hoping the resumption will remain unobstructed”. (IANS)
Police said four other persons were injured in the firing incident.
At least 45 people, including 43 civilian protesters and two policemen, have been killed in the spiralling violence that began in the Valley after a Hizbul commander was killed along with two of his associates in a gunfight with the security forces on July 7.
Authorities have snapped all mobile Internet connectivity and also suspended calling facility on mobile phones across the Valley.
Limited mobile phone connectivity is, however, available to subscribers on postpaid mobile phones provided by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).
No vernacular or English language newspaper has been published in the Valley for the last three days.
Amitabh Mattoo, the advisor to the state Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, told media that the decision to ban publication of newspapers was not taken at the instance of the Chief Minister.
Mattoo said the decision was taken at “the local level and heads would soon roll for taking such a harsh decision”.
In a related development, the state government on Monday shifted Senior Superintendent of police (SSP) Badgam, Fayaz Ahmad as sources said he had been transferred for stopping the printing of some local newspapers whose establishments are situated in Badgam district.
Mufti has convened an all-party meeting in summer capital Srinagar on July 21 to discuss the prevailing law and order situation in the Valley.
Opposition National Conference, Congress, Communist Party of India-Marxist and others have been invited to the meeting.
Addressing a meeting of senior bureaucrats in summer capital Srinagar on Monday, Mehbooba Mufti stressed the importance of opening educational institutions as soon as possible to protect the future of students.
Schools, colleges and universities have been closed by the authorities until July 25 because of the prevailing law and order situation in the Valley.
Meanwhile, the separatists including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Yasin Malik have announced an extension of the protest shutdown till Friday.
Security has been further tightened in the Valley as Pakistan government has announced to observe a “Black Day” on Tuesday to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir. (IANS)