Mehbooba wants to replicate Egypt: Omar12 February 2011
The Daily Excelsior
JAMMU-SRINAGAR: A war of words today erupted between ruling National Conference and main Opposition, the PDP after Mehbooba Mufti, the PDP president drew a parallel between the response to Egypt protest and 2010 summer unrest in Kashmir. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and two senior National Conference leaders and Cabinet Ministers Abdul Rahim Rather and Ali Mohammad Sagar strongly reacted to the statement of Ms Mufti. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah claimed that opposition PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti has called on 'Kashmiris to replicate Egypt' and said it seems she wants Army rule in Jammu and Kashmir. 'Mehbooba Mufti calls for Kashmiris to replicate Egypt. Seems she wants Army rule as well since her party is in Opposition now,' Omar tweeted hours after Mehbooba addressed a press conference where she congratulated the people of Egypt. Last night, after Hosni Mubarak stepped down as the Egyptian President. Omar wished to 'wake up in peaceful surroundings'. 'With the hope that Egypt wakes up to a promise of a Government they deserve and we continue to wake up in peaceful surroundings,' he tweeted last night. Omar's latest tweet follows Mehbooba's comment in support of Egyptian people 'for their victory'. Meanwhile, ruling National Conference today also reacted sharply to Mehbooba Mufti's remarks hailing ouster of Hosni Mubarak and imposition of Army rule in Egypt and said the PDP president was trying to force Army rule in the State. Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather and Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar said it is unfortunate that Mehbooba is linking the 2010 stir in the Valley to the Egypt agitation and wants democracy to take a back seat and the Army to take over. Earlier in the day, Mehbooba had drawn a parallel between the response to Egypt protest and 2010 summer unrest in Kashmir, saying while people in the Arab country did not face any charges from authorities there, the leadership here dubbed agitationists as 'drug addicts and LeT agents'. 'We congratulate the people of Egypt for their victory. The role of Army there is laudable as it seemed that they were protecting their people,' PDP president Mehbooba Mufti told reporters here. Expressing their dismay, Rather and Sagar said the PDP and its leadership should clarify whether they want the Army to take over Jammu and Kashmir and the democracy to be shelved. They said while all right thinking people want to strengthen democracy in the State, work towards bringing peace and are desirous of reducing the footprint of the security forces in civilian areas, Mufti is desirous of an Army rule. They said the 'statement of Mufti smacks of sheer frustration and desperation because her lust for power has so enormously overwhelmed her that she mindlessly wants the people of Jammu and Kashmir to somehow replace the present dispensation even if it is at the cost of handing over the State to the Army.' They alleged that Mufti is instigating the people to adopt methods which lead to an anarchical situation where the Army has to take over the reins of the State. 'They said such a day if ever happens will be the saddest day in the history of the State of Jammu & Kashmir,' a statement released by the National Conference said. Rather and Sagar said PDP and its leadership have always indulged in double speak and deceitful methods to grab power by bartering the interests of the people of Jammu & Kashmir and thwarting the process of democracy in their selfish motive of somehow getting hold of power in the State. They said Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was responsible for the 'murder of democracy' in 1984 in the State. They said the killing of the five Hizbul commanders, who were in the process of a dialogue with the Government of India to find a solution during the Chief Ministership of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, are instances to prove that PDP and its leadership can go to any extent for the sake of being in power. Rather and Sagar said Mehbooba's statement today clearly amplified her lack of concern for welfare and sentiments of the people of Kashmir and her sole objective is to somehow get the Omar Abdullah Government removed because she and her party feel threatened by the historic initiatives being taken by the Government for development of the State and political resolution of Kashmir imbroglio. Meanwhile, Mehbooba Mufti expressed surprise over the recent police statement that most of the stone pelters are drug addicts. She said that peace should be given a chance to return in Kashmir. She added that security forces have played their role in normalization of situation in Kashmir and they should be recalled. 'In the last year's summer agitation 60,000-70,000 youth took part and if we go by the recent statement then we can say there is a huge population of drug addicts in Kashmir. It is very unfortunate that our own people are defaming our youth. These protesters were dubbed as agents of Lashkar-e-Toiba and paid agents and now they have been referred to as drug addicts,' said Ms Mufti. Referring to her party's protest programme on February 14, the PDP president said that protest rallies would be carried out at Srinagar and Jammu. She said that specific issues would be raised during these protest rallies. 'Our demand is that repression needs to be stopped against common masses. We are going to highlight issues like these during our protest programmes. People in Kashmir have suffered a lot and we would continue to raise our voice in favour of common masses,' said Ms Mufti. The PDP president said that 3,000 youth have been put behind bars in Kashmir and those released have to mark their presence in their respective police stations once a week. 'Imran Yousuf, a youth of Nowgam was released on bail, but not before his father was taken into custody. This shows the level of mental torture people are going through,' she said.