“Governor Satya Pal Malik-led administration must handle the fragile situation carefully. Otherwise, the repercussion will be dangerous for the entire state,” said J&K’s former Chief Minister Mufti, while addressing a press conference here.
“We are seeing a ghettoisation of minorities in the entire state. It is a big concern. This was one of the reasons why we joined hands with the BJP,” she said.
“When the BJP got a big mandate, the minorities, especially the Muslims, had a feeling of insecurity. They thought what will the BJP do with us? We not only sided with the BJP but also formed a separate Tribal Ministry to protect their interests,” she said.
Mufti said that she expected that things would get better for the minorities under the Governor’s rule, but “unfortunately, the Gujjar Bakarwals are being selectively targeted, right under the Governor’s nose.”
Mufti said that in July 2018, after the fall of the BJP-PDP government in the state, dozens of families were sent notices to vacate their homes, and, many more were told to leave their homes in December last year in the name of encroachment.
“I spoke to the Governor. He assured me that no one will touch them, but unfortunately, that is not happening. You know they are cattle farmers. They rear sheep and goats. They are being harassed in the name of smuggling,” said Mufti.
“The Muslims in Jammu feel to be very vulnerable. I was hoping that after the assurances by the Governor it will not continue. We believe that if the Governor’s administration does not take control of this fragile situation, the repercussions will be dangerous not only for Jammu but for Kashmir as well,” Mufti said.
When asked about the potential challenge from the BJP in the next assembly elections, which, according to media reports, the Centre may hold along with the Lok Sabha polls, Mufti said: “It is their decision on how many seats they want to contest and what they want to do. It is up to them.”
In reply to a question about the granting of Union Territory status to Ladakh, Mufti said, “We are not against the granting of Union Territory status to Ladakh. We just want that other areas in Jammu like Rajouri, Poonch and so on are also remote and they should also be given the same treatment. ”
Mufti, however, dismissed Governor’s claims that her party was not ready for elections, saying, “We are always ready for elections.