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Situation in India no different from Pakistan, says Mehbooba Mufti

Govt is misusing central agencies to put opposition leaders in jail, she says

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti | PTI PDP president Mehbooba Mufti | PTI

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday said like the ruling party in Pakistan is trying to arrest former prime minister Imran Khan, the BJP-led central government here is misusing central agencies to put opposition leaders in jail.

Speaking at the party headquarters here, the former chief minister said she is concerned about the difficulties being faced by people in the aftermath of the revocation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two Union Territories in August 2019.

"Nothing new is happening in Pakistan... it is happening here (India) as well," Mufti said while responding to a question on the developments in crisis-hit Pakistan where the ruling party is planning to arrest the Pakistan-Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman on corruption charges.

"The situation is not different in India where sitting ministers, former ministers are also jailed... Manish Sisodia (AAP), (Kalvakuntla) Kavitha (daughter of Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao), Lalu Prasad (RJD president), Shiv Sena leaders and others have been targeted (jailed or summoned), she said.

Former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao also went to jail (in 1996) as per the law of the land, however, the BJP-led central government is misusing the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against the opposition leaders to put them in jails, she said.

Asked about the assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir and the role of her party, she said, "When the election takes place is not my priority. The people of Jammu and Kashmir are facing in difficulties in the aftermath of the 2019 development."

(PDP General Secretary Amrik Singh) Reen is part of the all party delegation (led by National Conference president Farooq Abdullah) to brief the opposition leaders in Delhi about the difficulties and suppression being faced by the people in Jammu and Kashmir, she said.

Mufti said the delegation will also brief the opposition leaders about the recruitment scams, contracts of minor minerals and liquor given to outsiders and failure of the administration to provide jobs to the youth.

No outside industry has come to J&K from 2019 onwards. Jammu businessmen are suffering after the administration stopped the darbar move (a practice under which the government used to function six months each in Srinagar and Jammu), she said, claiming that people from outside are coming and settling in Jammu.

Asked about Lt Governor Manoj Sinha's statement that 47 terrorists and their families who were provided jobs by the previous governments were dismissed by his administration, Mufti said he will set a record by dismissing employees but not providing jobs to aspirants.

"People are thrown out of jobs while new jobs are not given to anyone. Students after appear in an examination but scams are happening. He is going to set a record for dismissing employees, she said.

The PDP leader welcomed the Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board's decision to defer the recruitment examination but termed it a "half-hearted attempt" as a previously blacklisted company hired to conduct the exam has not been banned despite protests.

The move is half hearted as APTECH has not been shown the door. The reason for unrest among the job seekers is hiring of the blacklisted company. Deferring examination is not going to benefit, she said.

Mufti suggested that the JKSSB should either conduct the examination on its own or engage an agency which has a clean image. She also demanded action against those who hired the company for conducting the examination.

Jobseekers have been protesting against the JKSSB's decision to hire APTECH Limited, which was blacklisted in 2019, to conduct computer-based tests (CBTs) to fill vacant posts in various government departments.

On Lt Governor's move to seek suggestions of people over the implementation of property tax, she said deferment of any issue is not a solution but addressing the root cause will help.

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