Delimitation panel’s draft recommendations are an attempt to divide people of J&K: Mehbooba

Former Chief Minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday said the draft recommendations of the Delimitation Commission are an attempt to divide the people of Jammu and Kashmir on sectarian and social grounds.

She also said that the hijab row has been created because it is the symbol and identity of a particular community and that she fears other Muslim symbols would be targeted after this.

“The rights and guarantees given by the Indian Constitution are being mutilated and the Delimitation Report that has come recently is part of that,” Mufti said while addressing a press conference in Srinagar after a meeting of the party’s Political Affairs Committee (PAC). “They have tried to divide the people of Jammu and Kashmir on sectarian level (and) on social level, so that the people fight with each other. But the PDP’s struggle would be against it.”

While referring to the merger of Rajouri and Poonch with Anantnag parliamentary constituency, Mufti questioned the logic of the move. “In this delimitation, they have ruined everybody other than the BJP,” she said. “If you don’t like Rajouri and Poonch and you want to create an exclusive constituency, wait and you can give a separate seat to Rajouri and Poonch. If you don’t like Chenab valley, you can give them a separate seat. The delimitation has to happen in 2026. See there are no numbers (supporting) this delimitation. There is a constituency for one lakh people and another constituency for 1.75 lakh people.”

Mufti said that while Jammu and Kashmir is a political issue, it is being turned into a religious issue. She said the situation has only become more complicated after the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. She also reiterated her call for dialogue with Pakistan.

“I believe that unless and until the Jammu and Kashmir issue is not addressed, its external dimension is not addressed – I know by the evening I would be called anti-national. If somebody talks against BJP, against their agenda, against [Nathuram] Godse, he is being termed as anti-India but I would still say. J&K is a political issue,” she said. “By revoking 370, the issue has not been resolved. It has become more complicated. The government of India would have to talk to Pakistan today or tomorrow.”

On the hijab row, she said, “Hijab has been turned into an issue because it is a symbol of a community, identity of a community. It all started from Jammu and Kashmir because it is a Muslim majority state and these experiments would be conducted throughout the country,” she said. “I fear that after the hijab, they would try to attack our other symbols.”

Mufti also condemned the alleged targeting of the media in J&K. “If anybody raises his voice, whether he is a political leader or our media… It is difficult to guess who is under more oppression, the people, the political class or the journalists here,” she said, adding that some journalists have left the Valley out of fear.

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