Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti hit out at the Central government on Monday over the economy of the Union territory and the recent dismissal of government employees.
She said abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution that granted special status to the erstwhile state seemed to have been carried out to rob Jammu & Kashmir of its resources. “It seems the only motive behind the abrogation was to loot J&K. People from outside are being given top positions at Chenab Valley Power Projects. Our water and electricity are going outside. Our transporters are in trouble. They have to pay toll taxes and more,” the PDP chief, who is on a tour of the region, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
She further said articles 370, 35 (A) of the Constitution and other domicile laws were not granted by any foreign country, but introduced by the then ruler Hari Singh. “Even before the nation gave us these, the Maharaja had brought it to protect the identity of people of J&K. When people decided to be a part of India, he said that we have these laws that have to be upheld,” Mufti said. The two articles were scrapped by the Narendra Modi-led government in August 2019 and the state was bifurcated into two Union territories.
The former chief minister said there is no policy to restore the UT’s economy. “There is unemployment and inflation are rising. Earlier, they used to say that Jammu & Kashmir is backward, but we were ahead on several indices. But if their onslaught over economy continues, our situation will become worse than Gujarat as far as poverty is concerned,” Mufti said.
When asked about her comments on the sacking of 11 government employees, including two sons of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, she said she did support anybody but children cannot be held responsible for their father’s deeds. Mehbooba said on Sunday the dismissals done on flimsy grounds was criminal and the Centre was continued “disempowering” the people of Jammu and Kashmir in the “garb of pseudo nationalism by trampling” the Constitution.
“I’m not supporting anyone. You cannot hold a child responsible for actions of his father unless and until you have proof. These are not 11 people. They have sacked about 20-25 people this year,” Mufti said.
“I have said this again and again. You can capture a man but not an idea. You have to address the idea, as Vajpayee ji did. Witch-hunting, criminalisation of dissent is taking our nation back,” she added.
News Source: HindustanTimes