PDP fighting to safeguard Constitution: Tak

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Jammu, Mar 23 (PTI) The Peoples Democratic Party on Tuesday said its fight for the restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir is not against the country but for the country and to safeguard its Constitution.

PDP spokesperson Firdous Ahmad Tak made the assertion while accusing the Centre of misusing its various agencies to force the party into submission after the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019.

He alleged that the recent Enforcement Directorate’s summons to party president Mehbooba Mufti was part of the Centre's ploy to harass the PDP leadership as the party, he said, is the last “post of resistance” against the Centre's onslaught on Jammu and Kashmir.

'We are not against this country and even the government. We are against the constitutional blunder and onslaught on Jammu and Kashmir,” Tak told reporters here, referring to the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two Union Territories in August 2019.

Tak, a former member of the J&K legislative council, said the PDP is demanding the rights guaranteed to the people of J&K within the framework of the Constitution.

“Our fight is not against this country but for the country and to safeguard the constitution. We are fighting for this country in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

Asked about Mufti's decision not to respond to an ED summons in an alleged money laundering case on Monday, he said there was no reluctance on the part of the former chief minister to join the investigation.

“We know this is another ploy of the central government which is using its agencies to silence the dissent and political resentment in J&K (against its decision),” he said.

“Mufti is not adamant but has expressed her inability to appear before the ED on such short notice (due to her prior engagements). There are other ways, the agency can have virtual conversations and they also have an office in Srinagar,” he added.

“She (Mufti) is representing the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and conspiracies have been hatched against her. We all have to come together and form a united front against the onslaught and carry forward the people's fight to its logical conclusion,” he said.

On PDP's roadmap for the restoration of Article 370, Tak, a newly appointed member of the PDP’s political affairs committee, said, “We need not come on roads and pelt stones.” “We represent an idea and time will come when there will be a change of the government in Delhi and also the prevailing atmosphere in the country.

“The people of the country and the new government will understand our demand,” he said, adding the people who have supported the abrogation of Article 370 in parts of the Jammu region have understood what has been lost.

He claimed that even some BJP leaders are secretly admitting that the August 5, 2019 decision of the central government was a “constitutional blunder” that snatched the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

After August 2019, he said, the PDP lost a large number of its “towering and beloved” leaders because “we are being made victims of conspiracies and harassment”.

He said PDP did not accept the central government's decision which was forced on the people of Jammu and Kashmir through the “misuse of the Parliament” to pave the way for an “autocratic invasion” of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Our youth president Waheed-ur-Rehman is in jail. His only crime is that he represented mainstream aspiration in J&K. He was told either to leave the party or stand behind the bars,” Tak said.

“Former minister Naeem Akhtar and former vice president Sartaj Madni too have been jailed. The properties and bank accounts of our leaders are being scrutinized and those whose family members are in the government service are being transferred and subjected to probes,” he alleged.

Tak said while many of the party leaders did not succumb to this harassment, some others left the party and joined the BJP-created 'shadow' political groups.

Most of the PDP leaders either joined J&K Apni Party led by former minister Altaf Bukhari or the People's Conference led by former minister Sajad Ghani Lone.

There are, however, some elements who are trying to mislead the public that the PDP is finished, he said.

“They (BJP) created thousands of fake IDs on social media to create a narrative to defame mainstream political leadership in J&K and convey a message in the country that everything is alright in J&K, contrary to the ground situation,” he claimed.

Asked about the statement of former MLC Khursheed Alam, who left the PDP recently, that he was feeling suffocated in the party, Tak said, “Those standing with Mufti do not face any suffocation. We are feeling suffocated because of the system and not by the party leadership.” In response to another question about former MLC Surinder Choudhary who resigned from the PDP posts last week, he said, “The party has not received any letter officially from him but we came to know from the media that he was aspiring for a bigger post and was unhappy with the party and separated. PTI TAS AB RAX RAX