July 2017 News

Post-Amarnath Terror Attack, Mehbooba Mufti On Strong Wicket

13 July 2017
The Economic Times
Aman Sharma

New Delhi: The hands-on approach of Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti in handling the Amarnath terror incident has bolstered her position while exposing the Opposition's 'duplicitous response', senior government functionaries dealing with the incident have told ET. Both National Conference and Congress had criticised PDP and BJP for 'Intelligence failure' which led to the attack on Amarnath pilgrims. 'Immediately after the incident, the Opposition parties tried to destabilise the Mehbooba Mufti government. But that effort has backfired. Her position has further consolidated. She has received all-round appreciation from civil society, political parties including BJP, the prime minister and the home minister. She was prompt like a ground worker, involved herself and went in the night itself to grieve with the families of the dead and injured. She said 'my head hangs in shame' and did not do any selective condemnation of this terror attack,' a top central functionary explained to ET. He said Mehbooba's stature has risen as she acted in a 'statesman-like manner'. In fact, it is the NC which exposed itself by not calling for a Kashmir Bandh, the Centre feels. 'The NC gave a call for a bandh in Jammu for the Amarnath attack but stayed silent in Kashmir Valley. The Jammu bandh was called by rightwing organisations and Chambers of Commerce. The NC simply joined that. If the NC was so grieved, it should have given a call for Kashmir bandh as the incident took place in Kashmir valley. All NC MLAs, barring two, are from Kashmir valley. The party base is also there. But NC never called for a Kashmir bandh,' another senior central functionary said. He said NC should explain why it did not call for a bandh in Srinagar because 'it appeases the Hurriyat and does not speak against it', saying NC had been caught on the wrong foot trying to polarise the state. The Centre is enthused that the number of pilgrims at Amarnath has not dropped significantly after the July 10 attack and over 20,000 pilgrims have visited the shrine in the last two days (10,926 on July 11 and 10,319 on July 12) implying that the state has got over the incident. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had said on Wednesday that the PDP-BJP alliance had created space for terrorists in Kashmir and termed the same as a 'strategic loss for India' which costs the country massively. Senior central government functionaries see this as more of a 'rattled response' from Congress. 'A 100 terrorists have been killed in JK so far this year after the Centre has given a free hand to security forces like no other government in the past. The allegation of the Congress on terrorists getting a foothold in JK does not hold. The ones involved in the Amarnath pilgrims' attack will also soon see their end,' one of the functionaries quoted above said. He said Congress' confused stance was earlier exposed in JK on the issue of GST when it objected to the legislation in JK after supporting it in all other Congress-ruled states. 'That was a result of Congress toeing the NC line,' he said.