Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday mentioned the courts and the Election Commission while saying key institutions had been “compromised” and were “implementing the BJP’s agenda”. She accused the Opposition of keeping silent out of fear.
The People’s Democratic Party chief alleged the Centre wanted to ban her party because she was speaking out against the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
“Unfortunately, what they (the government) cannot do on their own, they bring the courts forward. If a poor man was hit earlier, he would seek redress from the courts. Now they (the BJP) are doing all this through courts,” she said at a news conference.
“Unfortunately, all our institutions... are implementing the BJP’s agenda in total. They are at the forefront of implementing the BJP agenda. We don’t know who to go to.”
Referring to the ongoing District Development Council elections, Mehbooba said the candidates of the seven-party alliance that is fighting for the restoration of Article 370 were being locked up to prevent them from campaigning. The PDP is part of the alliance.
Mehbooba questioned last week’s election of the Srinagar mayor — who is from a party close to the BJP — at a time the code of conduct for the DDC polls was in force.
“When there was a code of conduct in force, how can you go for a mayor’s election (by the councillors)? Unfortunately, the Election Commission of India, a big institution supposed to protect democracy... is singing their (the BJP’s) tune,” she said.
Mehbooba said democracy was being murdered in Kashmir in the name of the DDC elections and that the country’s top institutions should have tried to prevent it. “Unfortunately, they are compromised,” she said.
Her comments on the courts came in the context of the BJP targeting senior Valley politicians for alleged land-grabbing in connection with the “Roshni scam”.
The crackdown came after Jammu and Kashmir High Court had quashed as illegal the 19-year-old Roshni Act — which regularised the encroachment of government land by thousands — and ordered the release of all the beneficiaries’ names.
“What is Roshni? It was a scheme which has been turned into a scam. The real scam is the electoral bonds scam. For the last year and a half, the Supreme Court is not hearing it,” Mehbooba said.
“The act was passed (during) the National Conference (government’s) time and implemented during (then Congress chief minister Ghulam Nabi) Azad sahab’s time. It was a law, our Assembly passed it. If it (land encroachment) has been legalised by law, how is it a scam?”
Mehbooba said many of the beneficiaries were poor people who were being served with eviction notices. She said if rich people had benefited, the government should go after them and spare the poor.
She said she was being told directly and indirectly not to speak about the abrogation of Article 370 provisions.
“I’m told I’m provoking people. They want to get to me, ban my party,” she said.
She accused the BJP government of using the anti-terror law UAPA as a political weapon.
“If there is no proof against anybody, he is arrested under the UAPA…. Tomorrow, they can tell anybody that it was not (Nathuram) Godse but your grandfather who killed Gandhiji. He can do nothing and will be booked under the UAPA. Who will raise questions, because there is no bail for six months,” she said.
The National Investigation Agency had recently arrested Mehbooba’s aide Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra in a militancy case, and she was reportedly put under informal house arrest to prevent her visiting his home. The government has denied putting any such restrictions on her.
“You have dubbed Muslims as Pakistanis; Sardars are called Khalistanis, activists are called ‘urban Naxals’, students and girls are called ‘tukde tukde gang’ and ‘anti-national’...” Mehbooba said.
She accused the BJP of trying to divide the country through slogans such as “love jihad”.
“The Opposition says nothing; they are scared (of being called) anti-nationals,” she said.
Mehbooba said the government was scouring her accounts and government files from her tenure as chief minister to try and find evidence of wrongdoing.
She said the government had found nothing and was now raiding the people to whom her family had sold their ancestral property in Bijbehara, Anantnag district.