Iltija Mufti, the daughter of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, on Wednesday described central ministers’ visit to the region as “normalcy acrobatics”. She added that the Centre’s outreach programme should be seen as “vote bank politics”.
Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Tuesday started the Centre’s outreach programme following the government’s decision to scrap the region’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5.
“Normalcy acrobatics in full swing,” she said in a tweet posted from her mother’s Twitter account. “Kashmir continues to reel under a crippling internet shutdown and political leaders remain detained. There is massive surveillance and heavy troop presence yet curated photo ops continue.”
“With 52 visits planned for Jammu and 7 for Kashmir, GOIs [Government of India’s] ‘outreach’ should be viewed through the prism of BJP’s sole concern of vote bank politics and desperation to ensure it doesn’t lose its grip on Jammu,” Mufti added. “Article 370, Ayodhya verdict and CAB [Citizenship Amendment Bill] were decisions that only serve the BJP’s interest.”
Naqvi had claimed the current outreach programme was just the beginning of the Centre’s efforts to engage with people in the Union Territory.
The ministers have been requested to educate people about the development measures and schemes taken by the government for the region.
The Centre had imposed a curfew in Jammu and Kashmir after abrogating its special status. Several politicians, including three former chief ministers, were put under house arrest. The curbs are being gradually lifted, and several detainees have been released. Communication services are also being restored.
To address international concerns about the security clampdown, the government has tried to bring foreign envoys to the region. In October, around two dozen members of parliament from the European Union were brought to Kashmir on a guided tour. Before that, the MPs met National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Leaders of various political parties had termed these visits “an optics to hide the failure of the Centre”. Last week, the government invited envoys of 16 countries to visit Srinagar, including the ambassador of the United States.