Criticising termination of eleven employees, including two sons of Pakistan based global terrorist Syed Salahuddin by the government on the charges of terror links, former chief minister and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti on Monday described the action “illegal” as “you can’t hold a child responsible for actions of his father unless and until you have proof”.
Mehbooba, who was interacting with media persons here, said these are not 11 people, they’ve sacked 20 to 25 during the current year.
When some newsmen pointed out that the Hizbul Mujahideen terror outfit founder Salahuddin was responsible for bloodshed in Kashmir, Mehbooba said she was not supporting anyone but children cannot be punished for the crime done by their father. Moreover, cases of alleged terror links against his two sons were yet to be proved in the court.
She said that people of Jammu and Kashmir were still suffering because of the division of the country at the hands of Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Hitting out at the BJP, she said they are now trying to sharpen the divide between Hindus and Muslims in villages and towns. She complimented the people of Jammu for resisting such moves and maintaining brotherhood with Muslims, Gujjars and other communities.
She said it was unfortunate that witch-hunting and criminalization of dissent is taking the country backwards. Invoking former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, she said you can capture a man but not an idea. You’ve to address the idea, as Vajpayee ji did.
Replying to questions about her demand for initiating dialogue with Pakistan, Mehbooba said that Vajpayee, who was a BJP stalwart, believed in dialogue with neighbours and used to say that you can change friends but not your neighbours.
She said asking for dialogue was not a crime. The borders of J & K have been witnessing peace since February when India and Pakistan decided to strictly implement the ceasefire that was ordered during the regime of Vajpayee in 2003.
Targeting the BJP government, she said there’s no policy, unemployment and inflation is rising. Earlier they used to say that J&K is backward, but we’re ahead on several indices. But if their onslaught over the economy continues, our situation will become worse than Gujarat as far as poverty is concerned. People from outside are being given top positions in the Chenab valley power projects and our water and electricity are sent outside.
She alleged that instead of development, the government has turned Jammu that is known as the city of temples into a city of liquor shops.
She ruled out contesting the assembly elections until the special status of J&K was restored and whatever was taken away on 5 August 2019 returned.