New Delhi: Mehbooba Mufti, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, on Monday staged a sit-in protest at Jantar Mantar against ‘civilian killings’ in Kashmir.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president said that she decided to stage the protest in New Delhi as she was never allowed to register her protest in Kashmir.
She said she used to be either detained at her house or whisked away by police every time she planned a protest, news agency Press Trust of India reported.
Scores of PDP workers joined Mehbooba in the protest at Jantar Mantar.
“Kashmir has become a prison where people are not allowed to express their opinion. They are being repressed since August 2019 and what surprises me is how the government is busy portraying that everything was hunky-dory in the valley with the help of some of the paid media,” she told reporters.
In August 2019, Jammu and Kashmir special status under Article 370 of the Constitution was abrogated and the erstwhile state was bifurcated into union territories- JK and Ladakh.
Mehbooba said, “Whenever there is an encounter and a militant gets killed, nobody questions but when a civilian gets killed, only then do people come out and start asking questions.”
Carrying a placard that read “Kashmir is in pain”, Mehbooba said, “You have seen what happened in Nagaland where 13 civilians were gunned down. An FIR has been lodged immediately. Why does the same not happen in Kashmir as well? Though I do not have much hope that anything is going to come out of these enquiries but still the government is seen acting.”
She alleged that corruption was at its peak in Jammu and Kashmir, local residents were being deprived of jobs, and the blood of innocents was being spilled on roads.
“I have come here to tell the people of this country that if they don’t wake up even now, the day is not far when the nation of (Mahatma) Gandhi and (B R) Ambedkar will get converted into (Nathuram) Godse’s country and after that we all will be helpless,” she said.
Several photojournalists requested Mehbooba to remove her mask for a better picture but she replied with a visible smile on her face, “if I remove the mask, I can be booked under UAPA immediately”.
Pertinently, on November 15, 2021, three civilians- a complex owner, Altaf Ahmed, his tenant, Dr Mudasir Gul, and a peon, Amir Magrey- were killed in a controversial military operation in Hyderpora Srinagar.
With the Kashmir police maintaining that the three civilians were “not innocents”, the families of the trio deny all the police allegations and maintain that they were “civilians and killed in a staged encounter”.
The bodies of Altaf and Gul were first buried by police at Handwara graveyard and after massive outcry followed by protests by the families of the slain duo, their bodies were exhumed and later handed over to the families for the last rites late on Thursday evening.
The probe ordered by the LG is being conducted by the ADC Srinagar, who has already issued a notice inviting witnesses for recording their statements.
The LG has promised the probe will be conducted in a time-bound manner.
Pertinently, the family of the third slain identified as Amir Ahmed of Banihal has also been demanding the return of the body of their son, who was working as an office boy at slain Gul’s office.