Mehbooba Mufti: ‘BJP squeezing political space to expand itself at the cost of national interests’

Published : February 02, 2021 17:12 IST

Mehbooba Mufti, PDP leader and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. Photo: TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP

Mehbooba Mufti, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, has come down heavily on the recent spate of punitive actions by the government against mediapersons, politicians and members of civil society.

“Journalists and columnists are being booked for reporting facts, farmers are being targeted and defamed for seeking their rights, students and minorities are being pushed to walls. NIA, CBI, ED and every agency is being used to settle political scores and curb democratic voices,” she said in Rajouri, Jammu and Kashmir, soon after media reports surfaced that the IT Ministry, under instructions from the Ministry of Home Affairs, had Twitter suspend over 250 accounts.

Mehbooba Mufti is currently in the Jammu region to build the support base for her party in the Pir Panjal and Chenab valley region, which voted overwhelmingly for the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) in the District Development Council elections held in November-December 2020. Her Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is a constituent of the Farooq Abdullah-led PAGD. The coalition recently suffered a blow when ally Sajad Lone’s Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference (JKPC) walked out of it.

She addressed a workers’ convention in Rajouri on December 1. She later told the media that “[the] ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was tearing apart the very spirit of India to build its organisation in furtherance of its vindictive and fanatic political agenda”.

Mehbooba Mufti further alleged that “the sole purpose of this brazen use of muscle power and government machinery to squeeze political space in the country is aimed at strengthening BJP as organisation”. She underlined that this vindictive politics came at the expense of India’s interests, both internally and externally. She said that the plans of fanatic forces to enforce majoritarianism have not succeeded anywhere in the world and it is bound to fail here too.

Commenting on the recent alleged cases of staged encounters, she came down heavily on the continuation of the Armed Forces Specials Powers Act (AFSPA), which she described as a “blot on the democratic values of this country”.

She reiterated her stand about the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, abrogated by union government, and said she would carry forward the struggle even if she is left alone to fight. “I have made it clear that my personal struggle is only for restoration of dignity and honour of the people. My party and our workers have pledged to be with me in the fight, which is surely going to be long and tough. I want to assure you that we shall not give up and I am confident that the day will come when New Delhi will restore everything forcibly and unconstitutionally snatched from us,” she said.