Will fight a long political battle to get back Art 370, J&K flag: Mehbooba

Abid Bashir

Srinagar (NVI): Days after her release from 14-month detention, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti today declared that she would not contest any elections nor raise any flag till the restoration of special status of Jammu and Kashmir and its statehood.

Addressing her first press conference after her release, the former Chief Minister said she is ready to fight a long political battle for restoration of J&K’s special status where it had a separate flag and Constitution.

“The BJP has desecrated the Indian Constitution by stripping off special status of J&K,” the PDP chief told the media, while keeping the flag of the erstwhile J&K State in front of her.

“Today I am talking to you after a long time. Let me tell you that BJP acted like dacoits and misused the Constitution to loot J&K’s Constitution only to fulfil its own agenda,” she charged.

Noting that her party has entered into an alliance with National Conference, Peoples Conference and some other parties, Mehbooba said, “This is going to be a long battle and we will fight it peacefully… I will not be taking part in elections until we get the position in which we had before August 5, 2019.”

The special status of J&K, granted under Article 370, was abolished in August last year. The state of J&K was also bifurcated into two Union Territories — Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh.

When pointed out that it was PDP which entered into an alliance with the BJP, allowing the saffron party to become part of the government for the first time, she said her late father Mufti Muhammad Sayeed had tried to “cage the BJP in a bottle by forging an alliance with them. But we regret trusting a Prime Minister about whom one had never thought he would rob J&K of its special status, flag, constitution, and other resources. Now, we have non-J&K residents even for sand extraction in Kashmir.”

When asked about what kind of political struggle she will start, she said she is a street fighter and “hitting streets for people is nothing new for me. We will spill our blood to get the pre-August 5, 2019 position, our constitution and our flag. I will not raise any flag till we get our own flag back.”

Queried whether anyone from the government of India had approached her for any sort of deal, she said: “These things are not supposed to be disclosed before media.”

On whether she subscribes to the views of Farooq Abdullah that with Chinese intervention, J&K may get Article 370 back, she said there is no denying the fact that after the abrogation of special status, there is more international focus on Kashmir.

“Kashmir has never been so internationalised. It is because of Article 370 revocation,” she said while claiming that China has encroached 1,000 square kms of land in Eastern Ladakh of which only 40 kms have been retrieved after so much of “requests.”