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August 5, 2020

‘Indian government wants to make an example of my mother,’ says Iltija Mufti

National

August 5, 2020

SRINAGAR: ltija Mufti, 32, daughter of incarcerated Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, speaks to The Hindu on why she thinks J&K is far from being a normal place, even as the revocation of the erstwhile State’s special status completes one year. Edited excerpts from the interview:

Your mother and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti’s detention was extended by three months recently. Why do you think that happened?

The government wants to make an example of her. It wants people to know if you speak against Article 370, you show dissent, if you don’t agree with what we did, then we are going to detain you indefinitely, arbitrarily, and illegally, put you behind bars, humiliate you.

Was Ms. Mufti ever asked to sign a bond to get released?

Yes. The pressure the Indian government felt was a couple of weeks ahead of the United National General Assembly meet in October last year. An administrative officer was sent to my mother with the bond sheet. If you read the terms and conditions of the bond sheet, it sounds like we live in a dictatorship or an autocratic government. It said “if I speak or make any statement on abrogation of Article 370 and 35A I am going to be put behind bars.”

Do you think there are takers for the post-August 5 position in J&K?

My mother is against it. What happened last year was wrong then and it’s wrong now and it will be wrong five years down the line. When a huge change happens, when people suffer injustice and oppression, there is a mass movement.

Where do you see J&K a year on, after revocation of its special status?

It looks very grim, bleak, because the BJP’s idea of India is a country where there is hatred against minorities, against Muslims. The BJP’s warped and weird idea of ‘Naya Kashmir’ is about suppressing and disempowering people because the majority of people happen to be Muslims. The ‘Naya Kashmir’ goes well with the ‘Naya India’ they are trying to create. But once it crosses the tipping point, it will not remain the same.