Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter Iltija Mufti on Tuesday said the region has been dealing with economic, psychological, and emotional crises since the Centre abrogated its special constitutional status in August and imposed several restrictions, reported PTI.
“I have full respect for the prime minister...but I feel very sad that either he is being misled or he is willfully misleading the entire country,” Iltija Mufti said at a press conference in New Delhi. “What rights do Kashmiris have right now? Our economy is suffering, we’ve suffered around Rs 18,000 crore.”
She accused the Narendra Modi government of disseminating misleading information about the condition of Kashmiri people. “The rest of the country and the envoys who visited Kashmir were told that we enjoy equal rights but in reality you can’t even use VPN in Kashmir right now,” Iltija Mufti added. The Jammu and Kashmir Police said they have registered a first information report under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against social media users for using virtual private networks to circumvent the ban on intenet in the region.
The former chief minister’s daughter was referring to the recent visits of international envoys to the region. Diplomats from Germany, Canada, France, Italy, Poland, New Zealand, Mexico, Afghanistan, Austria, Uzbekistan, and the European Union visited Jammu and Srinagar on February 12 and 13. This was the second group of envoys to visit the erstwhile state this year. In January, envoys from 16 countries, including the United States, South Korea, Vietnam and Norway, had visited Srinagar. The visit was facilitated by the central government. After several media reports claimed it was a “guided tour”, the government issued a strong denial. In October, around two dozen members of the European Parliament had been taken to Kashmir on a much-criticised tour. The politicians in the group were mostly from far-right nationalist parties.
Iltija Mufti on Tuesday said Article 370, which the Centre hollowed out in August, was Kashmir’s “emotional connect” to the rest of India, and that the Modi government’s decision had come at a great cost. “I am talking not just as Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter, but also as an anguished Kashmiri,” she added. “We all know what has been happening since Article 370 was abrogated.”
Iltija Mufti said the dossier used to charge Mehbooba Mufti under the Public Safety Act said she was a “daddy’s girl”, The Tribune reported. “If you read the dossier, you wouldn’t know whether to laugh or cry,” Iltija Mufti added. “PSA is such a serious charge, and if you look at the dossier it’s full of derogatory and demeaning language. Yes, my mother was unapologetically a daddy’s girl...and if that’s considered a crime, what else is there to say.”
The Peoples Democratic Party chief was charged under the stringent law along with former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, and other Kashmiri politicians such as Hilal Lone, Peoples Democratic Party leader Naeem Akhtar. Bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal was booked under the Act on Friday.