National Conference on Sunday said the PDP-BJP Government’s crackdown on Separatist Leaders including Yasin Malik had exposed the PDP’s claims of facilitating a political engagement between the Hurriyat Leaders and New Delhi. Addressing a workers’ convention for Block Hafru Batpora at Watkulu, Chrar-e-Sharief on Sunday, Senior National Conference Leader and Former Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather said PDP’s ‘Battle of Ideas’ had turned out to be a vicious and retributive ‘Battle against Ideas’. NC State Spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu, while addressing the convention, lashed out at Mehbooba Mufti for resorting to retributive arrests and attacks on Hurriyat Leaders and condemned the reported harassment of their family members, including womenfolk. The convention was also addressed by Senior NC Leaders MLC Ali Mohammad Dar and Provincial Secretary Advocate Showkat Ahmed Mir besides various party leaders and office bearers.
Abdul Rahim Rather said the PDP-BJP Agenda of the Alliance had clearly promised new initiatives to facilitate engagement and talks between Hurriyat Leaders and New Delhi and had also spoken about a proposed ‘Battle of Ideas’ with the separatist leadership in the State. “Today there is an unprecedented crackdown on Hurriyat leaders and some of them have been sent to the Central Jail for cases that are 29 years old. What kind of ‘Battle of Ideas’ is this? Rather than trying to facilitate talks between Hurriyat Leaders and New Delhi, Mehbooba Mufti has taken upon herself the task to appease the BJP and RSS by ordering retributive action and crackdowns on the homes of Hurriyat Leaders. Engaging with the Hurriyat was a mainstay of the PDP-BJP ‘Agenda of the Alliance’ and like every other promise, this promise too has crumbled to dust within the very first year of this opportunistic alliance”, the Senior NC leader said in Chrar-e-Sharif.
Addressing the convention in Watkulu, Abdul Rahim Rather said PDP’s ‘Agenda of the Alliance’ with the BJP was based on three pillars of deception. “First PDP promised the revocation of AFSPA if voted to power. The present Chief Minister used every single election platform to promise that she would revoke AFSPA if her party was voted into power. Exposing PDP’s intentions and its opportunism, the Central Government has officially – in replies to question in the Parliament – refused to even review the possibility of revocation. So in fact we are now further away from AFSPA revocation than we were before PDP forged an alliance with the BJP. People clearly remember how PDP had promised to get AFSPA revoked in its 2002 election manifesto as well. Both in 2002, when PDP came to power with Congress and in 2014 when PDP joined the BJP – it has effortlessly given up on the demand to get AFSPA revoked in exchange for the Chief Minister’s chair”, the senior NC leader and Former Finance Minister said.
“The second pillar of the PDP-BJP ‘Agenda of the Alliance’ was to ensure the return of power projects from the NHPC to the State of J&K. In the last year, the Union Power Minister and the Central Government have officially and categorically rubbished this demand on two different occasions. On the first occasion, this was done in the presence of the State’s Finance Minister who refused to speak up and oppose this unjust and contemptuous rejection of a just, legitimate demand of the State. Now, a couple of days ago the Union Power Minister has yet again made it amply clear that the BJP-led NDA Government was not willing to even consider the return of power projects nor would it agree to increase the power-share for the State in hydel projects owned by NHPC. With this, the second pillar of the ‘Agenda of the Alliance’ has collapsed without any scope of review”, Abdul Rahim Rather said while speaking in Brenwaar.
The Senior NC Leader and Former Finance Minister said the third pillar of the PDP-BJP ‘Agenda of the Alliance’ was PDP’s promise to get the Central Government to engage in meaningful and sustained dialogue with Hurriyat leadership and also with Islamabad. “Not only have Hurriyat leaders been prevented from going to New Delhi to meet visiting diplomatic delegations for the first time in the last two decades, PDP has also ensured an unprecedented crackdown on Hurriyat leaders – hounding and humiliating them at every possible opportunity that could have been used to usher a new phase of reconciliation and engagement. Now their homes are being attacked and their family members humiliated. Today almost every single Hurriyat leader has accepted that PDP is the creation of covert agencies and they have also realized that PDP is the Trojan Horse that has been created and sent within our walls to weaken the State’s special status and further erode the State’s Internal Autonomy. We have seen this happen in numerous ways in the last year and more recently – we have examples of NEET, NFSA, Sainik Colonies and the plan of constructing three lakh houses for ‘floating population’ in the Valley. These are serious, well-conceived and elaborate plans to change the State’s demography and by-pass its State Subject Laws and subvert its special status. All along, the two successive PDP Chief Ministers refused to say a single word in opposition”, the Senior NC Leader added.
The Senior NC Leader and Former Finance Minister also termed the 2016 Budget presented by Finance Minister Dr. Haseeb Drabu as an inflationary and visionless budget and said the Budget would compound the problems of the common-man and also further complicate the bottlenecks in the system that Dr. Drabu claims to want to resolve. “This a Budget devoid of any direction and vision and the Finance Minister has used distractions and deflections to justify the PDP-BJP Government’s ineptitude and lack of empathy for the people of the State, especially after the devastating flood of 2014. NC Spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu condemned the police action at JKLF Leader Mr. Yasin Malik’s home and said any mishandling or humiliation of his family members was unacceptable and spoke volumes about Mehbooba Mufti’s mindset and desperation. “We have our political ideology and they have their political ideology. We have our share of political differences with the separatist leaders but this type of brazen, pre-meditated and selective retributive action against their family members is not only counterproductive to the goal of reconciliation and peace but also completely and totally unacceptable on ethical, legal and humanitarian grounds. Mehbooba Mufti’s desperation is evident in how she has directed senior Police Officers to take on quasi-political roles of sending out subtle threats to dissenters and separatist leaders. This is the same Mehbooba Mufti who came to power promising a ‘Battle of ideas’ with the separatists and said her party would facilitate talks between Hurriyat Leaders and New Delhi. Today she is directly ordering one crackdown after another on the separatist leadership”, the NC Spokesperson said while addressing the convention.
“From denigrating Muslim countries and societies to appease BJP and RSS and curry favors from the Prime Minister to demonizing the youth of the State, Mehbooba Mufti has come a full circle in her political transformation. She has been tasked with the mission to further Shyama Prasad Mukherjee’s ideology viz-a-viz J&K and she will go to any extent to appease the BJP and the RSS. Our special status is in harm’s way because of the PDP-BJP Alliance and Mehbooba Mufti’s complete surrender has created a sense of anxiety and insecurity in the State”, Junaid Mattu added. The convention was also addressed by NC Leader and Central Zone President, MLC Ali Mohammad Dar, NC Provincial Secretary Advocate Showkat Ahmed Mir, NC Central Zone Vice President Manzoor Ahmed Wani, NC District President Budgam Abdul Ahad Dar and various other party leaders and office bearers. (KNS)