Iltija Mufti, the daughter of the former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehooba Mufti, said on Friday that ordinary Kashmiris look at India as an occupying force, PTI reported. The Indian government had on August 5 scrapped the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution. The state has been under a curfew since, which is slowly being lifted.

“Kashmiris feel a deep sense of shock and betrayal,” Iltija Mufti said at the India Today Conclave in Mumbai. “I don’t know how you are going to undo the damage and the pain you have inflicted on the Kashmiri people.”

“You [the people] showed more collective outrage when Chandrayaan-2 failed, you showed more feelings when it failed...but you don’t feel empathy for the nine million [Kashmiris],” she said, referring to India’s moon mission. “The average Kashmiri – I know this is going to land me in lot of trouble – but the average Kashmiri views India as an occupational force,” she added. “Most of them are not even thinking about Pakistan, they want freedom. There, I said it, but it’s the truth.”


Iltija Mufti said Kashmiris were not consulted before the state’s special status was scrapped, India Today reported. “In a civil society you have a debate,” she said. “Kashmiri are part of this debate. You did not even consult them. How can you justify it and sell them the dream of a future?” Iltija asked. She said that Kashmiris have been “caged” for the past month. “Can we talk about the humanitarian crisis, economic crisis, psychological crisis, the human trauma that people have been subjected to?” she wondered.

“How would you feel if in Mumbai you would need a curfew pass to move around in your own country?” she asked. She wondered if the country today was “Gandhi’s India or Godse’s India”, referring to Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi.

Iltija Mufti asked why she had to approach the Supreme Court to meet her mother in Kashmir. The top court on September 5 allowed her to meet the former chief minister.

“I said to myself, Modi sahab, there are 10-11-year-old ones who have been kidnapped, their mothers are unable to sleep in the night thinking where their children must be,” Iltija Mufti said. “You [Modi] can meet your mother, don’t we have the right to? Don’t I have the right to meet my mother? Why I had to reach out to Supreme Court Modi-ji?”

Earlier on Friday, Iltija Mufti had said she wrote to the Union home secretary and his counterpart in Jammu and Kashmir on September 18, seeking information on detentions in the state on behalf of her mother, but was yet to receive a reply.

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