Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday said if “taking away” mosques, the Lal Quila (Red Fort) or the Qutub Minar could help resolve pressing issues such as unemployment, price rise, and poverty “then I would urge the Muslims of this country to let them (Hindu right-wing groups) take away whatever they want”.
The PDP chief was referring to Hindu right-wing groups’ demonstration at the Qutub Minar in Delhi on Tuesday, seeking to rename the monument “Vishnu Stambh”. Mufti added, “However, do not destroy the Hindu-Muslim unity of our country and the Constitution for that.”
In an address to party workers in Srinagar, the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said groups staking claim to a mosque should not be allowed to become a cause for violence. “Masjidein lete hain toh lene do, magar inko khoon kharaba karne ka mauqa mat do. Ye yahi chahte hain (If they want to take away mosques, let them. But do not give them cause for violence. This is what they want).”
If taking away mosques “helps you achieve anything, please do so”, the PDP chief went on to tell right-wing groups, adding, “We (Muslims) can pray anywhere, even by the roadside. We do not need a building to pray, we can bow down before God at any place.”
The former J&K CM also reacted to the Supreme Court’s observation on IPC Section 124-A (sedition law), saying, “If any student, activist or politician speaks, the sedition law is used against them. Therefore, if it is not stopped now, our state of affairs will be worse than Sri Lanka. This hyper-nationalism has led them to this.”
Mufti said she hopes “the BJP can take a lesson from the events in Sri Lanka and bring a stop to communal tensions and majoritarianism prevalent today”. She added, “Sri Lanka is in this state because they kept raking the issue of religion for several years, members of the same family continue to rule over the people. Just the way BJP has been ruling this country for the last eight years and they also keep fuelling the Hindu-Muslim issue.”
The former CM said the people of Jammu and Kashmir believe in peace and harmony and minority communities in Kashmir have lived here peacefully. “We have to show them what unity and brotherhood look like.”
Referring to recent episodes of houses belonging to Muslims being bulldozed in parts of the country, Mufti said, “It is unfortunate the way minorities are being attacked. Their houses are being bulldozed and their life is being threatened. The judiciary is not coming forth to take suo moto cognisance of these incidents, which they should have, ideally.”
Underscoring the difficulties the people of J&K are confronting since the revocation of Article 370 in August 2019, Mufti said the only option was “to stand together”. The former CM said jobs, land, and natural resources in the Union Territory were for “everyone”, and claimed that “all efforts are being made to weaken us”.