Mehbooba demands restoration of special status

PDP chief addressed her first rally since August 2019

Former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday addressed her first ever public rally since the division and abrogation of J&K’s special status in 2019, in north Kashmir’s Kupwara and pitched for restoration of special status.

“The Kashmir issue should be resolved by initiating a dialogue with Pakistan and the people of J&K, as there has been a lot of bloodshed due to the contentious Kashmir issue,” Ms. Mufti said.

She said her party does not demand restoration of statehood “but seeks restoration of the status of Jammu and Kashmir as it was prior to August 05, 2019”.

“Our party stands for peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue,” she added.

The PDP leader demanded release of all Kashmiris , including the political leaders languishing in various jails in and outside J&K.

She accused the Centre of “muzzling dissent” and “suppressing voice raising the concern about the policies of the government”.

“Voices are not being silenced not only in Kashmir but everywhere in the country. However, more harsh measures are being taken in Kashmir. We saw how they arrested a 21-year-old girl for raising her voice in favour of the protesting farmers,” she said.

On the divisions within the Gupkar alliance, Ms. Mufti said the alliance will continue as long as people want us to. “The alliance is talking about the aspirations of the people. It will continue to work till people want it to work,” Ms. Mufti said.

Meanwhile, PDP leader and Ms. Mufti’s political adviser Peer Mansoor announced his resignation from the PDP’s basic membership on Tuesday, weeks after he was released from jail.

Mr. Mansoor, a political adviser of Ms. Mufti who won the 2008 State Assembly elections, in his resignation letter, said, "At this stage of life, due to strong political and personal reasons, I am unable to continue my association with the party. Please accept my resignation from the basic membership of the party.”

He said it was a very painful moment for him to say goodbye to the institution “that made me what I am today… I will always continue to be your well-wisher,” he said.

Mr. Mansoor was booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) in 2019 and released later in 2020. He was again arrested in December 2020.

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