Former Jammu and Kashmir CM and PDP chief, Mehbooba Mufti, stoked controversy on Tuesday, by terming local terrorists in J&K as ‘son of the soil’ and said that efforts should be made to save them.
Talking to reporters in Anantnag after a party function, Mufti claimed that the Centre should initiate dialogue with the terrorist leaders in Jammu and Kashmir to end the “gun culture”. She furthered, “Right now, talks should be held with Pakistan and separatists. Similarly, the militant leadership should also be talked to, as it is they who have the guns and only they can end the gun culture.”
Mufti, reiterating that the local terrorists should be prevented from walking on the path of violence, said that according to her, “at some stage, talks will have to be held with Hurriyat Conference and militants as well,” she said.
What came across as advocating these insurgents, Mehbooba Mufti in her statement maintained that the local terrorists should be saved as they are ‘assets’.”Right from the time I came into politics in 1996, I have been saying that local militants are sons of the soil and our maximum efforts should be to save them because they are assets. If an encounter breaks out, the two people (militants and security forces) come face to face and no one can do anything about it then,” she said.
Referring to the filing of the charge-sheet in the 2016 JNU sedition case, in which seven Kashmiris have been named, Mufti on Monday had taken a jibe at the government criticising it for using this issue to score political points ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Mehbooba Mufti: Jo ki (chargesheet in JNU sedition case) bilkul ghalat hai. Aisa mehsoos ho raha hai ki 2019 ke elections ki tayari mein J&K ke logon ko phir se mohra banaya jaa raha hai. unko istemaal kiya ja raha hai. Vote ki rajniti ho rahi hai https://t.co/c5neNJ2HXM
— ANI (@ANI) January 15, 2019
She furthered that BJP was making the same mistake Congress had made ahead of 2014 elections by hanging Afzal Guru (a terrorist leader, who was convicted for his role in the 2001 Indian Parliament attack), which according to her was a political stunt to attract voters.
Mehbooba Mufti: 2014 ke elections se pehle isi tarah Congress ne Afzal Guru ko phansi di thi ye sochke ki shayad is tarah se unko kamyabi milegi. Aaj BJP wahi dohra rahi hai. Aaj unhone ek to Kanhaiya, Umar Khalid, unke alawa J&K ke 7-8 students ke khilaf chargesheet kiya hai pic.twitter.com/oHn78RFH8j
— ANI (@ANI) January 15, 2019
Mehbooba Mufti’s endearment for the terrorists is not something everyone is unaware of. On December 30 last year, she visited a terrorist’s family in south Kashmir’s Pulwama and admonished the government for alleged harassment of terrorists’ families. She had taken to Twitter to express her angst for the ‘injustices’ meted out to the terrorists and their families.
However, launching an attack on Mehbooba’s duplicity, the BJP had then alleged that the PDP chief is playing worst kind of opportunistic politics to stay relevant in the Kashmir politics. Sympathising with terrorists and whitewashing of crimes of pro-terrorist stone pelters in the state has been a chosen political tactic of many leaders, including Mufti in the state.
In fact, when BJP had walked out of the coalition government with Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP in J&K in June last year, they had stated heavy radicalisation and soft approach towards extremists under the PDP governance as the key reason for the break-up.
BJP’s national general secretary Ram Madhav had then stressed that despite the central government always giving whatever the PDP asked for, they had failed to deliver expected results and control the retrogressing law and order situation in the valley.