May 2016 News

Will Protect Special Status Of Jammu & Kashmir: Mehbooba Mufti

5 May 2016

Srinagar: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday said she would protect the special status guaranteed to Jammu and Kashmir under article 370 of the Constitution, as she was promise-bound and cannot betray the people. 'When we fight elections, be it BJP or Congress or PDP, we take oath that we will protect the constitutions of India and J-K. So, we are promise-bound and we cannot betray. This is our identity and we have to protect it,' Mehbooba said. She was addressing a gathering before flagging-off four new DEMU trains between Banihal-Baramulla and Baramulla-Budgam in Kashmir Valley at Anantnag railway station. Union Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu flagged-off the trains through video-conferencing from Rail Bhawan in New Delhi. Mehbooba said before taking oath as the chief minister, she was asked not to ally with the BJP, but she responded by saying that in 1947 the state had already acceded to the whole country, which included the saffron party. 'But what we have to see is how to protect our identity. Those things which the God has given us and the constitution of India has given to us, we have to protect them. Recently, there was a conference in Delhi where Chief Justice and all the justices of the country were present. I told them only one thing that Jammu and Kashmir's special position under Article 370 is part of Indian constitution,' she said. The Chief Minister, however, said that for protecting the identity of the state, the impression that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is very bad, needs to be changed. 'There are a lot of misconceptions about J-K. The girls in our state are safe compared to the rest of the country. The good things about Kashmir do not reach the people outside. The discussion is only about when someone pelts a stone or waves a flag. I feel this (train) service is the start of the coming of good things,' she said. She also asked the people of the state to see the situation in Muslim countries around the world which have been affected by violence, and compared them with India where different people live together in peace. 'See the whole world, especially the Muslim countries, Iraq, Syria, Libya or Egypt or even our neighbour Pakistan where only the people of one religion live, but where have they reached. Today, you see that the maximum destruction caused by the gun is in Muslim countries,' she said. 'India is such a big country where democracy thrives, where different people live together. This extraordinary Ganga-Jamuni civilization was what (her father and former chief minister) Mufti (Mohammad Sayeed) saw in Aligarh during his student days. And when he returned, he held only one flag in his hand and did not change his stance because he was satisfied. Today, you have got the evidence of his satisfaction,' she said. Later, Mehbooba travelled on the inaugural service of the new DEMU train from Anantnag to Baramulla and took the return service from Baramulla to Srinagar. She said the service would benefit the people, especially government employees and students, and also demanded that special trains be started during peak tourist season. 'We will now try to increase the frequency of the train services, so that the traffic pressure on the roads is lessened,' she said.