“It’s all about land”: Mehbooba lashes out at BJP after PDP protest foiled

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On Thursday, after People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leaders and workers were detained for protesting against the newly imposed land laws, the party’s president, Mehbooba Mufti, said that “Jammu and Kashmir has been turned into a jail” and “neither the journalist nor the civil society, or even the politician, can raise their voice against what’s happening”.

Earlier, on 26 October, New Delhi imposed new land laws that allow non-domiciles to buy land in Jammu and Kashmir. Today, authorities foiled the protest march of the PDP and detained several leaders including the former Member of Legislative Council (MLC) Khurshid Aalam in Srinagar. The office of the party was sealed too.

Ms. Mufti was disallowed by the authorities to leave her home too in the afternoon. In a press conference thereafter, she said: “Today, you stopped us by using your power. Every day a new law is passed in Delhi for us. This won’t work. If you are that powerful then take China out of Ladakh. They stole the land of Ladakh and yet these people are not talking about China.”

“There is total lawlessness in their doings. I am happy today that Jammu and Ladakh came to know the ugly face of BJP,” she said. “It’s all about the land for them.” Taking a dig at New Delhi, Ms. Mufti continued that “using all their power on the people of J-K”.

Ms. Mufti said that earlier domicile law was introduced and then government announced that it can axe any government employee after 22 years of service. “I won’t allow this open loot. In other Indian states, people have no food to eat, but BJP government wants them to buy land in [J-K],” she said.

“You saw that BJP passed the law for stealing the land of J-K. Yesterday in Jammu, people from our party came out in protest, and today we came out for protest here but the leaders were stopped and arrested,” she said. “They were taken from their homes during the night and the office was sealed.”

Ms. Mufti reiterated the aims of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar declaration — an amalgam of unionists fighting for restoration of pre-August 209 status of erstwhile state — she said: “If we don’t stand against it united, they will plunder everything that we have. Their whole intentions are communal. When the people of Ladakh protested. They were taken to Delhi by air and asked about their issues.”

Stating that she won’t stay quiet on these issues, she said, “I want to tell them that we are not just Twitter politicians. We don’t only keep tweeting about what’s happening in J-K.”

Earlier, Ms. Mufti was detained in August 2019 and was later booked under draconian Public Safety Act (PSA). She was released after 14 months of detention.

“They want to steal our land the way they stole the lands of farmers,” she said. “Parliament cannot steal article 370 from us.”

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