‘You have erased our identity’: On J&K Accession Day, Mehbooba Mufti slams BJP

In a hard-hitting speech in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti says the decision to sign the Instrument of Accession was right, not the 2019 decision to abrogate Article 370.

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On the occasion of Jammu and Kashmir Accession Day on Wednesday, former chief minister and president of the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (JKPDP) Mehbooba Mufti hit out at the Centre and the BJP, saying that if the Instrument of Accession was right, then the decisions taken in August 2019 were illegal.

“One decision was taken on October 26, 1947, and the second on August 5, 2019. The decision of October 26 was right and legal. The Maharaja signed it. But the decision that was taken in 2019 was illegal,” Mufti said, addressing party workers in Srinagar. “They (BJP) will have to accept one of these – if they accept that their relations with Jammu and Kashmir are illegal, then the decision of 2019 was right. But if they say their relationship is legal, then they will have to return what has been snatched from us,” she added.

Maharaja Hari Singh, the last Dogra ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, had signed the Instrument of Accession on October 26, 1947. On August 5, 2019, the Centre moved to abrogate Article 370 and split the then J&K state into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.

Mufti said that Jammu and Kashmir’s relationship with India was right and based on the Instrument of Accession but the “BJP has made it a relationship based on guns, based on Army, UAPA and PSA”, referring to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act.

The former J&K chief minister said the Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists of Jammu and Kashmir trusted India and acceded with a secular country, instead of Pakistan, on certain conditions. “We joined hands with you and said we have some conditions which should be safeguarded because we have limited land here and our environment is sensitive as well. We did it for our safety so that our identity remains intact,” Mufti said. “But you have erased our identity and now you want to erase our existence. This will not work,” she said, adding that the BJP has destroyed Jammu and Kashmir and turned it into a battlefield.

Hitting out at BJP, Mufti said Jammu and Kashmir does not need the “Gujarat model” but the “country with which it acceded in 1947”.

Mufti said that on August 5, 2019, the Constitution of the country was mutilated. “If they (Centre and BJP) want Jammu and Kashmir’s relationship with India to remain legal, they will have to revoke the 2109 decisions,” she said.

The PDP president also lashed out at police and security officers, reminding them of staged gunfights and warning that they would be held accountable for their actions.
Mufti said that while BJP is speaking about a Jammu chief minister, it has failed to appoint even a chief secretary from Jammu. “They (BJP) tell the people of Jammu that they will give them a chief minister from Jammu. If you have to give a Prime Minister from Jammu, who stops you?… But then how can they do it? The chief minister has to be chosen by the people,” she said. “You could have given them a lieutenant governor but you brought him from UP. You could have at least given them a chief secretary from Jammu,” she added.

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