Mehbooba Mufti, the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and president of the PDP, attacked the BJP and the administration of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday, accusing them of enforcing a “bulldozer policy” that is turning the union territory into Afghanistan.
Mufti said that the BJP’s initial call for “Ek Samvidhan, Ek Vidhan, Ek Pradhan” has given way to “one country, one language, and one religion” but “there is no Constitution.”
The leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) urged the nation’s opposition leaders to speak out against the “atrocities being committed by the BJP” during a press conference.
“Parties including the Congress, Left, DMK, TMC, Samajwadi Party and others should raise their voices and not remain silent to the atrocities on common people in Jammu and Kashmir,” she was quoted as saying by PTI.
When questioned about Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha’s assurance that poor people’s homes wouldn’t be affected by the drive, Mehbooba claimed it was an effort to sow discord between the rich and the poor.
She argued that the reality is that tiny houses with tin sheds are also being torn down, proving that his message is not being received on the ground.
The leader of the People’s Democratic Party alleged that the BJP is using its overwhelming power to weaponize everything and “bulldoze” the Constitution.
“Palestine is still better. At least people talk. Kashmir is becoming worse than Afghanistan the way bulldozers are being used to demolish homes of people. What is the purpose of demolishing small houses of people. Is there a bulldozer policy,” she said.
“The brunt is borne by the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Whatever is happening since 2019 is an onslaught on our identity, on our economy, on our jobs, on our lands,” Mehbooba said.
The BJP, according to the former chief minister, is demolishing everything, including the Constitution. She claimed that it nullified Article 370 and promised to unite Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of the nation.
“I don’t know about the integration but the destruction is massive. All the institutions including the media have been weaponised. They also want to subjugate the judiciary,” she said.
To prevent a contempt case, Mehbooba added that she would not speak much about the judiciary.
Members of the ruling party and ministers are free to say whatever they want, such as Kiren Rijiju, who frequently criticises the judiciary and gets away with it, she claimed.
“The laws brought in after Article 370 removal have been weaponised to an extent that when you visit Jammu and Kashmir, it will resemble Afghanistan because the bulldozer is there. After 370 they destroyed our identity, outsourced our jobs, our land, our minerals, our resources. When I said outsourced it means given to outsiders,” she said.
She claimed that the only thing we had left was the roof over our heads because Jammu and Kashmir was the only state where people did not spend the night on the streets.
“The BJP thought that since they cannot bring the entire country to the standards of Jammu and Kashmir so they will bring Jammu and Kashmir to the level of the rest of the country…,” she said.
After the BJP took office, those who had been lifted out of poverty had fallen back below the poverty line. The party now wants to repeat this in Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba claimed.
Mehbooba remarked that the government claimed that even the centuries-old Shankaracharya Temple and the cantonment that the former Maharaja built were situated on encroached land.
“The latest onslaught is our homes, our lives, our livelihood because houses and shops are being demolished in the name of so-called anti-encroachment drive. This too has been weaponised now,” she said.
She claimed that although the Enforcement Directorate and National Investigation Agency had previously been used against journalists, human rights advocates, and politicians in the nation, Jammu and Kashmir had a unique situation where police officers had their own units and were in competition with one another to harass and apprehend more people.
“What is happening in Jammu and Kashmir is extreme. Afghanistan which was not the USA’s own territory they bombed in one go but in our state destruction takes place everyday. I don’t think any state would have seen so many bulldozers which are now being moved in Jammu and Kashmir…Irony is crooks, fraudsters, scamsters, conmen have been given 45,000 square meter while land of common people are being snatched,” she said.
She claimed that anyone who raises the Constitution is having their voice silenced.
“Was removal of Article 370 in accordance with the Constitutional provisions?” she asked.
(with PTI inputs)