Mehbooba warns of efforts to repeat 1987 in Kashmir


Srinagar, May 16 (KIP)- Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti warned on Thursday that attempts are underway to repeat the tumultuous 1987 situation in Kashmir, stating that betraying the trust of the youth in the electoral process could have dangerously dire consequences.
Addressing election rallies in North Kashmir's Baramulla constituency, the PDP President highlighted the political maturity and foresight of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, despite their emotional nature. She drew parallels with the 1987 elections, where rigging altered the region's trajectory, leading to bloodshed and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) distancing itself from elections. "No doubt, the people of Jammu and Kashmir are emotional in some ways, but at the same time, they are politically very mature and far-sighted. Jamaat-e-Islami was also contesting elections earlier, and if there had been no rigging in the 1987 polls, the situation in Kashmir would have been different. There would have been no bloodshed and mayhem, and JEI would not have distanced itself from elections. Even today, we see people being coerced ahead of elections. They are threatened by a situation reminiscent of 1947," Mehbooba said.
She accused the current administration of pressuring officers from specific communities to support BJP's proxy candidates, fearing a repeat of 1987's electoral manipulation. Mehbooba also criticized the government's dual approach, noting that while JEI shows readiness to engage in the electoral process, government machinery employs tactics reminiscent of 1987 to suppress legitimate voices. She stressed that today's youth are voting to express their sufferings, warning that rigging these elections could lead to disastrous outcomes. "The head of the administrative affairs in Jammu and Kashmir has summoned officers of a particular community, warning them of dire consequences if they do not support BJP's proxy candidates in Kashmir. I fear a 1987-like situation is being repeated. On one hand, the JEI is expressing its readiness to take part in the electoral process, and on the other hand, the government machinery is using the same old tactics it used to muzzle the just voices in 1987. Youth today are coming out to vote to give voice to their sufferings, and if you betray that voice and rig elections, it is going to prove disastrous."
Speaking to media persons on the sidelines of the function, the PDP President questioned NC Vice President Omar Abdullah's statement on offering unconditional support to the PDP after the 2014 elections. She pointed to NC's current actions as evidence of their betrayal. "I trusted Dr. Farooq Abdullah, but they betrayed that trust and declared that PDP has vanished from the scene. This is their approach towards the unity of political parties for the greater fight. We had nourished the PAGD for four years, and NC bulldozed it in one go. I was hoping that Farooq Abdullah sahab would take the decision as the head of the conglomerate, but he didn't. He decided as NC President and didn't rise above party politics for the greater cause," Mehbooba said.
Responding to Union Home Minister Amit Shah's remarks about the BJP-led government's intentions regarding Kashmir under Pakistani control, Mehbooba criticized the BJP's fear-mongering tactics. She argued that the BJP should first respect the 22 crore Muslims already living in India rather than labeling them as infiltrators before discussing Kashmir under Pakistan's control. "There are already 22 crore Muslims in India, and what will happen when Amit Shah brings Pakistan-controlled Kashmir to this side? The BJP often taunts us to go to Pakistan, and now when it is bringing Muslims from across here, imagine the scenario. The BJP should first learn to respect Muslims who are already citizens of this country, not label them as infiltrators; then we can talk about Kashmir under Pakistan."
Mehbooba cited the significant voter turnout in the Srinagar parliamentary polls as evidence of the current suffocation felt by the people. She highlighted the plight of thousands of Kashmiri youth imprisoned outside the region, whose parents struggle to navigate the legal system. "This election is about those youth - to get them freed," she asserted.
She also noted the frequent raids and house seizures by various agencies, the rising unemployment, and the youth's increasing involvement in drugs. "This election is about sending a voice to parliament that can speak to power there and declare that the decisions taken on August 5, 2019, are wrong and have to be revoked. That was the reason I wanted this fight to be fought together with other political groups so that a unanimous voice could be sent to the parliament. How wonderful it would have been if Omar Abdullah sahab had been a PAGD candidate - even I would have sought votes for him. But that didn't happen. NC preferred party over principles," Mehbooba said.