Saturday, May 25, 2024

Ladakhis, Dogras feel marginalised, dispossessed by changes imposed on region: Mehbooba Mufti

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Srinagar, May 03: People’s Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti on Friday said Ladakhis and Dogras are feeling marginalised and dispossessed today by the changes imposed on the region. Addressing election rallies in Budhal Rajouri, Mufti said people from Ladakh are protesting against what happened on August 5, 2019.

“Even the businessmen there feel that their lands are being snatched away, leaving them with nothing. The Dogra community in Jammu, which initially hoped that the abrogation of Article 370 would bring benefits, is now reeling from the removal of special status because the region’s resources are being taken away,” she said.

The former chief minister said the removal of special status was unacceptable to the people of Jammu and Kashmir irrespective of their creed, caste, or religion. “Our identity, special status was snatched. This is unacceptable to us. The decisions made on August 5, 2019, should be rolled back. People of Jammu and Kashmir stand united to safeguard their unique identity,” she said.

Mufti also criticised the “suppression of dissent”, alleging that the Public Safety Act (PSA) is slapped against youth who dare to raise their voices against day-to-day issues.
She talked about how electricity prices in Jammu and Kashmir went up a lot compared to other places, making it hard for poor people to pay.
“We generate electricity here, but it is given for free to other states. Here, the prices went up by 10 times. How can poor people pay such big bills? The government wants to make it seem like everything is good, but it’s not true,” she said.
PDP President said people are being disenchanted with each passing day. “Silence of the graveyard has been enforced. I urge you not to allow assault on your unique identity,” she said.
Mehbooba called for safeguarding local languages and culture. “Those from the Dogra community should teach their kids to speak in Dogri, Gujjars should teach kids Gujari, Punjabis- Punjabi and Kashmiris- Kashmiri. Language keeps us connected to our roots. We must do everything whatever is in our hands to protect our identity,” she said.

Mufti said this election is being fought for the protection of our core interests. “It is about our identity; it is about sending a strong voice to the parliament. It is about telling the echelons of power in the parliament that irrespective of caste, creed, or religion, we are citizens of J&K,” she remarked. “This is our land, and we will protect our identity at all costs.”
The former CM called on the National Conference (NC) to “concentrate on larger issues rather than petty politics”. “My main opponent here is from a party that hasn’t accomplished much for the Gujjar community in the past six decades. Everyone knows what the PDP has achieved while in government,” she said.
“The party (NC) claims to have fielded a candidate who hails from a Gujjar community. I respect my Gujjar brothers. The youth of this community are educated. Two months ago, NC accused the Gujjar community of being up for sale and taking money for their votes,” she said. “This is ironic. I respect Altaf Sahib (Mian Altaf Ahmad). He used to study with me in college, but as they say, actions speak louder than words.”
“The fact is that what work he is capable of doing, I may not be capable of the same, but what I can achieve cannot be accomplished by him. I don’t ridicule the National Conference, but we have to understand that this election transcends petty politics,” the PDP chief said.

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