Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed her anger against the Centre saying the people of Kashmir were not comfortable with the current regime and set-up in the valley.
"Every one seems to be unhappy with the government. Not only the Kashmiris, the farmers and Dalits too are very agitated at present. Their rights have been snatched," she said in her first press conference after her 14-month incarceration.
Mufti said the time has come for Kashmir's leaders to make sacrifices and fight for the reinstatement of the special constitutional status, which was taken away from Jammu and Kashmir last August. "Kashmiris have seen enough bloodshed and now is the time for leaders to pitch in and sacrifice their lives to fight for their legitimate rights."
She used the 'robber-robbery' example for at least half a dozen times while referring to the Centre's move to revoke Articles 370 and 35 A. "They have robbed Kashmir of the special articles and in the process shredded the Constitution to bits," she said.
The PDP supremo's table displayed two flags, one of Jammu and Kashmir and the other of PDP. "I will not hold the tricolour till the flag of Jammu and Kashmir is returned to us," she said.
She likened the August 5 move, when Parliament had repealed Article 370, to gross cheating and plunder of the Indian Constitution. "The articles were given to the Kashmiris by the very Constitution but were forcibly taken away. We will fight to get it back."
The PDP, National Conference and four other parties have come together to form the People's Alliance of Gupkar Declaration to fight for restoration of the special status. The BJP has already asserted that the abrogration of Article 370 is history and cannot be restored.
"The mainstream parties are united and willing to fight. We have pledged to reinstate Article 370. We don't want violence. It is infact the government which is provoking people by issuing order after order to disempower the Kashmiris."
The 62-year-old leader said that the BJP has failed to deliver governance and every time there is an issue raised on farmers' distress, unemployment or failing economy, Kashmir comes handy to deflect and raise passions.
Hitting out at Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Mufti said while the government was silencing Kashmir's leaders from speaking on the special status, Yogi was allowed to milk Article 370 for votes. She was, apparently, referring to Adityanath's statement wherein he had asked during an election rally that the BJP's move to repeal the articles has now ensured that non-locals too can buy land in Jammu and Kashmir.
To a question whether China and the repeal of special articles were linked, Mufti responded "Given that the Chinese have themselves said so, and are there on the border, there certainly is a link."
"China has gobbled a 1000 square km of land. And that is a reality."
On being asked about how mainstream parties will take on the Centre over the repeal of articles, she said, "I am a street fighter. But we will not use violence."
Mufti said her party and the People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration will take a final decision on whether to contest elections or not in the union territory. However, personally, she was not interested in contesting polls till the erstwhile state's flag and constitution were restored.
"As far as the PDP is concerned, now we are not alone. If you remember, we, along with the NC, had taken a united stand before the commencement of panchayat polls (in 2018) that we will not participate in them. This time also, we will discuss it in the party, with our workers, and then discuss it in the People's Alliance (for Gupkar Declaration). Whatever decision we take there, will be bound on everyone," she said.
With PTI inputs