Govt attitude to be blamed if Kashmiris gravitate towards Pakistan: Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter

Abantika Ghosh
Mehbooba Mufti, Mehbooba Mufti PSA, omar abdullah, iltija mufti, Public Safety Act, Jammu and Kashmir, indian express

She said if Home Minister Amit Shah can “tour the state openly, I will salute him”.

If Kashmiris gravitate towards Pakistan it is not their fault but the government’s attitude which is forcing them, Iltija Mufti, daughter of jailed former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti, said on Tuesday.

She also said if Home Minister Amit Shah can “tour the state openly, I will salute him”.

Iltija, 31, who was in Delhi, professed respect for Prime Minister Narendra Modi but said it seems he is “either being misled or is wilfully misleading the country”.

“I will not lie,” she said while interacting with journalists at the Indian Women’s Press Corps, “politicians are indeed discredited (in J&K). There is a lot of anger among Kashmiris, and this alienation has increased after abrogation of Article 370. They are upset that the rest of India has not spoken up. Politicians such as Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah were buffers, (but) now you have removed them.... There is a lot of anger against dubious means adopted by the government (since special status was scrapped on August 5, 2019). If I lock you up at home, you will also be angry.”

She claimed that in October last year, just before the UN General Assembly session, the Union government had approached her mother to make her sign an “illegal undertaking” to forbid her to speak about Article 370, parts of which dealing with special status accorded to the erstwhile state was revoked. But there has not been any outreach since, she added.

Iltija said: “When history is written I don’t want to be on the wrong side. It is true that Pakistan has fished in troubled waters, but look at what you have done to Kashmir. If Kashmiris now gravitate towards Pakistan, it will not be their fault. It is the attitude of this government.... Armymen are checking phones of children to check whether they are using VPN (virtual private network) and slapping UAPA on them — a law that was used for terrorists. Successive governments have tried to rule Kashmir with an iron fist, but it does not work. (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee-ji understood this — you cannot bulldoze emotions and aspirations.”

India, she said, is no longer the place she grew up in. “I grew up a proud Indian. My grandfather was an Indian by conviction. But now we have become a Hindu (version of) Pakistan; intolerance has affected people like a virus,” she said.