Srinagar:National Conference on Saturday said that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti owed an apology to the people of Kashmir for demonizing and defaming them through her contemptuous and highly inappropriate “cats and pigeons” analogy while speaking on the Kashmiri Pandit rehabilitation issue in the Legislative Assembly. “CM Mehbooba Mufti has defamed and demonized Kashmiris by inferring that Kashmiris are allegedly some sort of killers and hunters and Kashmiri Pandits are unsafe in their company and hence need to be isolated from them. It’s tragic that a Chief Minister could stoop to this level in her maiden address in the Assembly”, NC Spokesperson Junaid Mattu said in a statement issued from Party Headquarters in Srinagar.
“Mehbooba Mufti should know that her ‘hunted versus hunter’ analogy has exposed her mindset and also her prejudiced outlook on this very sensitive issue. She has portrayed Kashmiris as hunters and killers from whom apparently Kashmiri Pandits need to be protected. She should apologize to the people for her remarks and also bear in mind that she is no longer an election campaigner who can afford to distort the truth and lie at will. She is the Chief Minister of this State and we expect a basic amount of wisdom and restraint from her. Mehbooba Mufti should know that both Kashmiri Muslims as well as Kashmiri Pandits have been the victims of violence and she cannot portray an entire community as culprits and demons. This is extremely regrettable and tragic on her part”, NC Spokesperson Junaid Mattu added.
He said the Chief Minister’s speech in the Legislative Assembly was bizarre, wayward and contained misplaced analogies and distortions. “She didn’t answer why the people of this State are constantly reeling under an existential threat to their constitutional special status and demographic character under her Government but rather chose to vacillate on these crucial questions. Fact remains that this State’s special status, its demographic character and its political rights have all come under open, blatant assault under this Government and Mehbooba Mufti and her party have chosen to be accomplices in these intrigues instead of defending the State’s honour”, the NC Spokesperson said.
“The Chief Minister lied on the floor of the house about the ‘Smart Cities’ status for Srinagar and Jammu when she wrongly claimed that they had been included in the initiative. As pointed out by the NC Working President in the Assembly, the two cities have only been proposed and will now go into the bidding phase. Rather than lying about these make-belief, imaginary initiatives from her alliance partner’s Government in New Delhi, Mehbooba Mufti should have explained what became of the CBMs she has sought as a pre-requisite to Government formation in the State”, he added.
Mattu questioned the conspicuous absence of PDP’s ‘Self Rule’ vision document in the Chief Minister’s maiden speech in the Legislative Assembly and said it was now formally proven that PDP had abandoned its flagship vision document and ideology for political expedience and power. “While in opposition PDP leaders including Mehbooba Mufti spoke about their ‘Self Rule’ document and about initiatives like ‘dual currency’ and ‘open borders’ but today they are petrified to even whisper these phrases and risk being ditched by the BJP. Their rebellious rhetoric and slogans have been replaced by their total and complete obedience to the RSS – and the Chief Minister’s speech goes on to prove that”, the NC Spokesperson further stated.
“Mehbooba Mufti’s bizarre justification that she tied up with BJP to prevent another 1987-like situation is ridiculous and ironic. The Chief Minister would be well served to remember that her party’s founder and former Chief Minister Late Mufti Sayeed Sahab was the face of the Congress Party in the State during that period in history. By inferring that in some way the political turmoil or instability was a derivative of 1987, she is first and foremost blaming Late Mufti Sahab. It doesn’t suit a Chief Minister to distort history. PDP tied up with the BJP to first make Late Mufti Sahab and then Mehbooba Mufti the Chief Ministers of this State – everything else is a guilt-laden, ridiculous excuse to conceal a brazen political sell-out”, the NC Spokesperson added while responding to the Chief Minister’s speech.
He also reminded Mehbooba Mufti that Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah stood for the principles of a democratic and socialist Indian Republic and believed that India’s secularism was the best option for the State, its people and their future. “Today Mehbooba Mufti has tied up with the political heirs of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee – the same man who led the first assault on the State’s special status and its State Subject Laws. Her alliance with the BJP cannot be compared to Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah’s identification with the principles of secularism and democracy that the very idea of India exemplified. We understand her desperation to conceal her guilt by trying to mislead the people through inaccurate and bizarre, misplaced comparisons and we suggest she tries to gain a more rational, nuanced understanding of contemporary history before compiling her speeches”, the NC Spokesperson further added.
“On the issue of NFSA, Mehbooba Mufti again went down the all-too-familiar path of deflection of her own responsibilities and that of her government. The previous State Government had categorically disallowed the extension of NFSA to J&K by highlighting how the State stood at a grave disadvantage because of the Act. Why wasn’t NFSA extended to J&K during the tenure of the previous Government? The question pertinent and relevant to the people of Kashmir is why the PDP-BJP Government facilitated the extension of NFSA to J&K. Which Central Government envisioned the Act is irrelevant as far as our people are concerned. The previous Omar Abdullah-led Government protected the interests of our people and the PDP-BJP Government of Late Mufti Sahab appeased the Central Government and the BJP by extending the Act to the State in haste – the repercussions of which are being seen now”, the NC Spokesperson said.
He lashed out at the Chief Minister for drawing shockingly outrageous and absurd comparisons to hide her Government’s failure to prevent the extension of NEET into the State. “This is a matter of constitutional propriety – a concept that seems too complicated for the Chief Minister to understand if not appreciate. This is not a question of how bright our students are – and there is no doubt about their capabilities and mettle. This is a matter of the State’s special status given how education is an area that falls in the State List as far as J&K is concerned. How does this situation equate to the situation in Palestine? How can an elected Chief Minister make such absurd, senseless comparisons on the floor of the Assembly? The IAS examination is a Central, National examination for entry into the Civil Services and our State will continue to churn out toppers in the civil services examinations. This however has no relation to the issue of NEET. The Mehbooba Mufti Government had itself moved the Supreme Court opposing the extension of NEET to J&K citing the State’s special status – and rightly so. Now suddenly Mehbooba Mufti sees nothing wrong in the violation of the State’s special status by NEET? Was she lying when her Government approached the Supreme Court or is she lying now? This is ‘ridiculous’ coming from a Chief Minister”, he said.
“The complete and glaring omission of the Handwara incident in the Chief Minister’s speech has exposed her guilt in mishandling the situation and being absent from the State as our youth fell prey to bullets. The Chairperson of the Women’s Commission had announced that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was personally monitoring the Handwara case and would ensure that justice is done. In her first speech in the Assembly after this incident she neither had the courage nor the courtesy to make this assurance, nor explain her clear mishandling of the situation. Does the Handwara girl not deserve justice anymore or is ‘justice’ a mere slogan that Mehbooba Mufti only peddles while she is in the opposition? There have been contradictory statements coming from various quarters on the Handwara incident and the Chief Minister’s refusal to address this issue indicates the Government’s failure to handle this situation”, he said in the statement released from Party Headquarters this evening.
He also lashed out at the Chief Minister for trying to address the genuine apprehensions that the people of this State have on how this Government might be compromising on the State’s political interests and rights. “She didn’t answer whether the proxy-petitioner of her alliance partner would withdraw petitions made against Article 35 A and Article 370 of the Constitution of India and if RSS and BJP along with their allied ‘NGOs’ would desist from their intrigues against the State and its people in the future. She is the Chief Minister of J&K and she should first serve the people of J&K and know that she is answerable to them before she is answerable to BJP President Amit Shah or the RSS leadership in Nagpur”, the NC Spokesperson added.
“Mehbooba Mufti also chose not to condemn the outrageous remarks of her Cabinet Minister, Chaudhary Lal Singh who has threatened the Muslims of Jammu with a repeat of the 1947 pogrom against Jammu Muslims where hundreds and thousands of innocents were slaughtered by the political ancestors and patron ideologues of Mehbooba Mufti’s present alliance partner. Will Mehbooba Mufti sack Lal Singh or will she validate his remarks by allowing him to continue in her Cabinet? If Mehbooba Mufti doesn’t take action against Lal Singh – she will endorse his remarks and her decision to not answer this question in her speech is shocking. She has chosen to not reassure the Muslims of Jammu about their safety and has turned a blind eye towards their sense of apprehension and anxiety”, he further stated.
He also pointed out Mehbooba Mufti’s refusal to clarify on the official, duly recorded statement of a senior bureaucrat in her Administration about the Government’s plan to construct thousands of shelters and houses for non-State Subjects in the State. “The newspaper that carried this story has made it amply clear that these remarks are accurate and have also been recorded by the particular correspondent. This should have merited an intervention by the Chief Minister today and she should have clarified the stand of her Government on this issue – which again questions and violates that State’s special status and State Subject Law. It seems like Mehbooba Mufti is a co-architect in plans to change the demographic character of the State by violated the State Subject Laws. Her silence on this issue speaks louder than a thousand words”, he said.
He termed the Chief Minister’s maiden speech as an accurate reflection of her Government’s clueless and directionless functioning and said the Chief Minister had added to the apprehensions of the people rather than assuaging them in the Assembly.