Centre cites Mehooba’s inflammatory speech in SC

New Delhi: “India will become an occupational force like Israel in the case of Palestine”, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court on Tuesday, citing a speech of Mehbooba Mufti, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, before the revocation of Article 370.

The Centre, while justifying imposition of restrictions on Kashmir post August 5, told a bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana that political leaders in Kashmir instigated an uprising propagating anti-India sentiments through several public speeches.

Mehta told the apex court that opposition leaders referred to local militants as “sons of the soil”. In one of the provocative speeches, Mehta said the leaders, citing the special status of Kashmir, warned not to “play with fire, else it will burn you”. “Which flag will Jammu and Kashmir pick other than Indian flag?” Mehta cited one of the speeches.

He said the separatists are engaged by mainstream political parties to force a discussion on a situation, and then devise a mechanism for a response. Mehta said statements have been expressed that Kashmir would have its own prime minister.

“They have been instigating people for mutiny and uprising against the government…they have also made secessionist statements,” said Solicitor General citing speeches with anti-India overtones.

The Centre contended that the opposition leaders have right to oppose any changes to Article 370. Mehta said a few days before the revocation of the Article 370, some of the leaders had said: “We want to tell the Centre that tinkering with Article 370 is akin to playing with fire…the hand which touches it will be burnt and then the whole body will be burnt.”

Mehta told the court that one of the statements said “there will be no shoulder to carry the Tricolour”, while referring to the Indian flag after the special status of Kashmir was abrogated.

He also cited speeches at public gatherings. “Rumours are there that Article 35A will be attacked. We have to unite against this, we will have to save it and we will sacrifice our life and property…workers of all political parties should go house to house with this message”.