Mehbooba Mufti brings Muzaffar Baig back to centre stage, but PDP co-founder sparks row with 'partition' remarks
At a PDP event, Muzaffar Baig warned that if the ruling BJP “doesn’t stop killing people in the name of cows,” India will stare at another partition.
Srinagar: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday brought back Muzaffar Hussain Baig — the party's co-founder, former deputy chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and Lok Sabha MP — to the centre stage. Sparking a controversy during his first public appearance alongside Mehbooba, Baig warned that if the ruling BJP 'doesn’t stop killing people in the name of cows,' India will stare at another partition.
“Even people seen walking with cows are being lynched. There is fear among the Muslims of India,” Baig said, while addressing thousands of PDP workers on the 19th foundation day of the party held at the Sher-e-Kashmir Park in Srinagar.
“We want to tell the prime minister that the killing of Muslims in the name of the cow and cow slaughter must stop. The lynching of Muslims should be stopped. If this continues, the country may face a split once again.” Baig added.
While thousands of PDP workers thronged the venue for the function, at least seven MLAs and two MLCs were missing. However, their absence was overshadowed by the participation of a large number of people, particularly from south Kashmir, and from the constituency of Baig.
Nazir Ahmad Bhat, a resident of Bijbehara in the volatile south Kashmir region, who traveled more then thirty kilometers to attend the party function, said he sees hope in Baig who, he said, has the 'capacity to stop further disintegration of the party.'
“Governments come and go, but we are for the party. And no party except the PDP has a presence in south Kashmir. The National Conference doesn’t have candidates in our area to contest elections, leave aside workers,” Bhat said.
He further said that the only leading light and hope in the party was Baig, who 'has the power to pull everyone in the same direction.'
“When we started this party in 1999, there were only 230 people, and 50 were from Jammu. On the next day, 50 more people joined and we grew. We want dialogue between India and Pakistan (on Kashmir),” Baig said from the podium.
Mehbooba told party workers that during the 2016 uprising, she was shocked to see violence being inflicted on people, against which she had always fought.
“When they fired pellets at young boys, I felt as if the pellets were hitting me,” Mehbooba said. She further claimed that she did not compromise on the values of her party during her two-year tenure as chief minster.
The PDP president said she had to drink a cup of poison by aligning with the BJP, because after the death of her father Mufti Mohmmad Sayeed, PDP leaders were in favour of aligning with the BJP. She said that the PDP aligned with the BJP only to save the people of Kashmir.
“On many occasions, I met Narendra Modi and I asked him to initiate dialogue with Pakistan and the Hurriyat Conference,” Mehbboba said. “I told the Centre to release Hurriyat leaders from NIA custody, so that peace prevails in Kashmir,” she added.
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