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PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti urges Kashmiri youth to shun militancy

Srinagar, June 25

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday appealed to the youth of Kashmir to shun militancy and save their lives, claiming security forces were getting incentives for killing them. Mehbooba said Jammu and Kashmir was going through a tumultuous phase and in the times to come, it will need its youth.

“I hear every day that three or four youths have been killed, which means the local recruitment here has increased,” she told reporters here. “It is my request to the parents and the children to save their lives because killing you is an incentive for them (security forces). They get money and promotions for that,” she alleged.

So, do not pick up arms. They kill four-five (militants) every day… I appeal to you this is not right and you should leave it, the PDP president said.

Referring to the protests by Kashmiri Pandits over the target killings of the members of the community, she said people, including religious leaders, should emphasise on the fact that Pandits were a part of the Kashmiri society and are its asset.

Kashmiri Pandits are still protesting. When the situation was bad during my tenure (as CM), even then no Pandit was killed. We provided them salary for 17 months while they were home. I appeal to our people, our maulvis (religious leaders) to announce that they (Kashmiri Pandits) are our assets,” she said.

“Whenever something wrong happens here, the BJP uses this community (Kashmiri Pandits) to defame us,” she added.

About the unprecedented security arrangements for this year’s Amarnath Yatra, the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said the administration has created such an atmosphere as if some attacker is coming.

“They are yatris, our guests. We have been caring for them for centuries. But, (this year), you (administration) have placed so many nakas (security checkpoints) that it seems the yatra is taking place for the first time,” she added.

Referring to the revocation of Article 370 by the Centre in August 2019, Mehbooba said the endeavour is to take away “our lands, jobs, mineral, water, assets, but do not let them take your courage”.

“They want to give us a sense of hopelessness and helplessness that nothing will happen now and what has happened, has happened. But, it is not like that. I do not accept that whatever has happened, has happened. We all have to get united.

“If we lose hope and accept everything, then, God forbid, our position will become worse that the people in the Gaza strip who have certain rights… So, do not lose hope. We still have many things which we need to safeguard. Otherwise, a time will come when our situation will be worse than what Israel did to Gaza Strip,” she said.

The PDP chief said if the people stand united and use their powers in a peaceful manner, democratically, constitutionally and politically, “then we will succeed and get back what was taken from us”.

On the ban on Falah Aam Trust (FAT) schools, followed by administration’s direction that schools built on government land should be shut, she said, after 2019, attempts are being made to “disempower” the people of Kashmir.

“Now, there is a latest attack on education. First, they targeted the 300 schools of FAT. They are accused of being affiliated to the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI). Is JeI a criminal organisation? Does it provide arms training or ‘trishul’ (trident) or sword training to children which otherwise takes place at (RSS) shakas?

“They provide modern education, have the same syllabus which other schools have. The only difference is that our poor children study there in minimal fees. Now, they are closing schools which are on government land,” she said.

This, she added, will leave lakhs of students and thousands of teachers helpless.

On the situation in Maharashtra, she said the BJP has made a “mess of this country”.

“The country was built with so much of blood and sweat by leaders like Jawahar Lal Nehru, over the years by the Congress party, Indira Gandhi, AB Vajpayee. The basic fundamentals of India were democracy and secularism. They are turning everything upside down.

“They are the most corrupt system that I have ever seen in my life because (of) the way they are purchasing MLAs after the elections, be it in Rajasthan, MP, Goa or now in Maharashtra. There is no example of such corruption in the history of India for the last 70 years,” she said.

On the Centre’s Agnipath scheme, Mehbooba said it was against the pride, the hard work and the spirit of sacrifice of the army personnel.

“(Veer) Savarkar wanted Hindus, the RSS people, to be trained so that tomorrow they are more brutal in their dealings with the minority community and others,” she added.

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