Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti said she was not surprised when Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the meeting of political leaders of J&K on Thursday. "There is so much of oppression" in the region, she said, adding that the centre must have realised that things have not gone as they had planned.
Her comments come a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with top political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir at his Delhi residence. It was the first meeting between the centre with the political leaders of the region after the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019 and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories.
Here are the Highlights on what Mehbooba Mufti said:
- On why she was invited to the PM meet even though she was blamed for being a terror sympathiser: You are asking this to the wrong person. This is something only the Prime Minister or Home Minister would be able to answer.
- There is so much of oppression in Jammu and Kashmir. People are unable to even breathe. The situation on ground in J&K is not what they are portraying to the world. People are unhappy and feeling suffocated.
- They (the centre) have realised that things have not gone as they had planned, and maybe out of little empathy that they had left, they decided to meet us.We went out of respect for the office of the Prime Minister.
- The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere and the Prime Minister and Home Minister heard what we had to say. What one can hope for is that when the Prime Minister says "Dil ki dooriyaan kam karni hai" that he means it.
- Before the elections, we need to have some confidence-building measures. People's confidence is shattered.. there are so many suicides, total depression in the region.
- Data might suggest that terrorism has come down, there is still disquiet in the region. When a local youth picks up a gun and then they get killed, the flag on their grave becomes a Pakistani flag. Once militants get killed, they become Pakistani.
- Since the day Article 370 and 35A were scrapped, the people fear that the demography will be changed, so the centre needs to address these fears. Another thing is that jobs must be secured for the local youth.
- Journalists these days get notices for their reporting, so people can't report freely. Security forces pick up people for the smallest of things and are harassed.
- Do you really believe that if the situation on ground was all hunky-dory, then the centre would have invited the Gupkar alliance for a talk? Things are clearly not how they intended it to be. They know that they need Gupkar to reach out to the people, hence they are now meeting us.
- Unless Article 370 and Article 35A are restored, I will not contest the elections. I will do this because otherwise people will feel that resolution of Article 370 is just a slogan for me and I am just doing politics over it. That is not the case, hence, I will personally not contest any election till it's reversed.
- For confidence-building measures, they need to do much more. They need to release many other prisoners apart from our party leaders.
- It is all rubbish that my party's youth president gave Rs 5 crore to Geelani's son to instigate stone-pelting in J&K in 2016, when we were the government in power... That is absurd. All that is just nonsense.
- If the siege is lifted, people are not harassed, students and journalists are not harassed, people are not picked up...These confidence-building measures must be undertaken.
- Article 370 and 35A were a means for us to have job security and also our identity of being from J&K. So, these are important to us. And that is why you must have seen that J&K was India's most prosperous state.
- I agree that the step to reach out to us and inviting us to Delhi is a welcome measure.