January 2020 News

Mehbooba's Provocative Statements Led To Downgrading Of J-K Into UTs: PDP's Baig

9 January 2020
The Indian Express
Arun Sharma

Jammu: Senior PDP leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig Thursday showered praises on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, saying 'nobody had a complaint against these three of being corrupt or anti-Muslim'. However, said Baig, there are 'always people in every society who kill their own brothers and children', referring to Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. Speaking to mediapersons in Jammu, the PDP leader also had a piece of advice for Kashmir politicians. 'While approaching the Centre for talking on Jammu and Kashmir issues, you will have to talk in a dignified and civilised manner. You cannot achieve anything by coercing the Prime Minister, Home Minister or the NSA.' he said. Baig described as unfortunate a statement of his party chief Mehbooba Mufti, that there would be 'no one in Kashmir to uphold the Tricolour if the Centre fiddled with Article 370 or 35A'. Pointing out that this statement was made in his absence, he said: 'I am on record having said that this has resulted in downgrading of Jammu and Kashmir from a state to a UT.' This is not the first time Baig has stepped away from PDP's line. In October, when NSA Ajit Doval had held a lunch for a group of 27 European lawmakers - the first foreign delegation to visit Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 - Baig had attended it. The PDP had then said the leader did so in his personal capacity. On Thursday, Baig demanded that the Centre release political detainees in J&K - including the three former chief ministers - restore statehood, and give domicile rights to locals at par with other hilly states in the country. The demand from Baig has come two days after an eight-member delegation comprising former ministers and ex-legislators called on Lt Governor G C Murmu and submitted him a memorandum raising similar demands. 'Why have you detained them for the past 5-6 months? They have sworn by the Indian Constitution, contested elections, stood against Hurriyat Conference, their relatives have been killed by Pakistani bullets,' Baig said. 'If you have any proof of their involvement in any anti-national activity or corruption, try them under relevant provisions of the law. They are held under provisions of Section 107 of the Indian Penal Code. Even a naib tehsildar is empowered to release anyone under this,' he added. Baig said Dr Farooq Abullah was detained under the PSA only after one of his friends moved the Supreme Court challenging his detention, and this was why other former CMs were scared of moving an application to the naib tehsildar for their release. Baig reiterated his old stand that the National Conference and the PDP made a mistake by boycotting panchayat elections. He held leaders of Kashmir's political parties responsible for giving a wrong impression to the people that Article 370 gave the state a separate identity or provided it a way to secede from India. 'Otherwise, even Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru and Home Minister Gulzari Lal Nanda in 1960s had said this provision of the Constitution stood eroded with the Centre getting powers to make laws for J&K on many matters,' he said.