Srinagar: Issuing a stern warning to the BJP-led Central government in New Delhi, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti said that trying to divide people and interfering in Jammu and Kashmir will give birth to more separatist leaders.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said: “If Delhi tries to dismiss the voting rights of people like in 1987, if it tries to create divisions and interfere like that, then I think a Salahuddin and a Yasin Malik will be born…. if it tries to break PDP like that, the outcomes will be dangerous.”
Mehbooba was referring to 1987 elections in Jammu and Kashmir, where it was widely believed that rigged pollshelped Farooq Abdullah become the chief minister of the state and led to the birth of insurgency in the state. It is seen as a turning point in Kashmir’s geo-political landscape as many of the parties contesting the elections — such as the Jamaat-e-Islami, the People’s Conference and the Ittihad-ul-Muslimeen which lost — are now part of the main separatist alliance in the Valley. Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yasin Malik were “born” during this time, she said.
Mehbooba’s comments came after some PDP members rebeled against her “dynastic rule” and are attempting to form a third front with a National Conference-Congress combine or even with the Bharatiya Janata Party — PDP’s former alliance partner in the state — to stake claim to form the government in Jammu and Kashmir.
According to a recent report, disgruntled PDP MLAs said that they were ready to form a government with the BJP, provided the latter did not set any new ‘terms and conditions’ and the chief minister was a Muslim from Kashmir.
However, BJP rebuffed the allegations of putting in efforts to return to power in the state and said its party’s priority was restoration of law and order and not government formation. State BJP chief Ravinder Raina said, “Our priority is not government formation… We were in power in the state and had it been our priority we would not have walked away from the coalition government. Our top most priority is restoration of normalcy in the Valley and peaceful conclusion of the ongoing Amarnath Yatra. People should feel a sense of security which is the priority of every government but unfortunately it was not evident during the previous regime,” he said.
On 19 June, the BJP pulled out of the alliance with PDP, putting the state under Governor’s Rule. Pulling the plug, BJP party general secretary Ram Madhav announced at a press conference that “it has become untenable for the BJP to continue in the alliance government in the state”. The spurt in terror violence in Kashmir and simmering discontent against the BJP not only in Jammu but also in Ladakh region are believed to be the causes that triggered the collapse.