If Muslims are 'Pakistani' and Sikhs 'Khalistani', then who is 'Hindustani'? — Mehbooba Mufti takes aim at BJP
Photo: ANI

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday ramped up allegations of Islamophobia against the Government of India and complained of 'secular voices' not being allowed to come up.

She highlighted that while the central government is having "the 9th, 10th rounds of talks with China", prospects of talks with Pakistan is still in the preliminary stage.

"Is it because it (Pakistan) is a Muslim country? Because everything is being made communal now?" asked Mehbooba Mufti.

"They call Muslims as 'Pakistani', Sardars as 'Khalistani', activists as 'Urban Naxal' and students as members of 'Tukde Tukde Gang' and 'anti-national'. I fail to understand if everyone is terrorist and anti-national, then who is 'Hindustani' in this country? Only BJP workers?" she threw in a jibe at the saffron camp.

Further accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of attempting to shun democracy from the political ecosystem, she said that the saffron camp wanted to ban her party, the PDP, because she raises her voice.

"I think BJP wants to develop an ecosystem of itself where there is no place for democracy," she said, adding, "They are trying to get to me. They want to ban my party. Because I raise my voice. I am repeatedly told that Article 370 is being talked about since my release. But what can I do about that?"

"After we decided to participate in the DDC Election, the degree of oppression has increased in Jammu & Kashmir. Candidates of PAGD are confined and are not allowed to go out for campaigning. How will candidates contest if they are not allowed to canvass?" news agency ANI quoted the PDP chief at a press conference on this day.

Targeting government action towards Roshni Scam she said, “ What is Roshni? It was actually a scheme and it was made out to be a scam."

Notably, the maiden District Development Council (DDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir, being held in eight phases, are no doubt historic but they are also of existential consequence for the entire political spectrum in the Valley.

The regional parties, which have dominated Valley politics for decades and have been finding themselves on a sticky wicket since the abrogation of Article 370, are trying to reclaim their ground.

For the BJP, the elections are no less than a mission to break free Jammu and Kashmir politics from the Valley's two prominent dynasties — the Abdullahs and the Muftis — and carve out an alternative reckoning.

In the DDC polls, the BJP wants to get as many berths as possible. It is fielding its own candidates and at places is backing independents as well.

Former Chief Ministers and alliance partners Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have alleged that their candidates are not being allowed to campaign freely and are being locked up on the pretext of security.

Parties allege that in the name of security the candidates have been put up in hotels and are being allowed to campaign between 12 noon and 3 PM only.

While the administration says security of the candidates is paramount, Omar Abdullah has said the administration is helping the BJP.

This may appear hyped up, after all, these are just local elections. But in Jammu and Kashmir, which has just opened up for the country, the stakes are high. These polls are being seen as a preparation for the Assembly polls, whenever they are held. And, how political parties fare in these local polls will, most probably, lead to a similar pattern in the Assembly elections.

(With agency inputs)

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Free Press Journal