Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on March 2 termed the ban on Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) an act of “vengeance” by the Centre, saying it would have “dangerous consequences”.
“There is an atmosphere of vengeance in the state, especially in the Valley after JeI youths and leaders were arrested. JeI is a social and political organisation. It is an ideology and I do not think you can imprison an ideology by arresting some activists of the outfit. We totally condemn it,” Mehbooba told reporters at the PDP headquarters here.
The PDP president said while there was no action against those persons responsible for incidents of lynching in the country, “a social organisation involved in helping the poor” in Kashmir has been banned.
“You have Shiv Sena, Jan Sangh, RSS in the country who have lynched people on the basis of eating a type of meat, but there was no action. However, an organisation which has been helping the poor and running schools has been banned and its activists put in jails. We will not allow this. Its consequences will be dangerous,” she said.
Mehbooba asked the Centre not to turn Jammu and Kashmir into a prison. “You cannot imprison an ideology, we live in a democratic nation and in a democracy, there is battle of ideas. If you have a better idea, let there be a battle on that, but do not turn J-K into a prison.
“We had not allowed the BJP to do whatever it is doing now (during the PDP-BJP coalition), but unfortunately there is no one to stop them (now). When a Kashmiri is beaten, people applaud and become happy,” she said.
When asked about the sealing of properties of Jamaat leaders, including schools run by the organisation, the former chief minister said it was unfortunate and should not have been done.
“It is unfortunate as these schools were providing education to the poorest of poor. Their students are meritorious. Where will all these students go after their schools have been banned. They are playing with our future and this is very wrong. They should rather ban (RSS) shakhas where swords are displayed. No Jamaati carries a sword,” she said.
Condemning the recent NIA raids on moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s properties, Mehbooba said the Centre wants every Kashmiri to pay for “a thought which is in his mind”.
“I condemn the NIA raids on Mirwaiz. After all, he is the religious head of Jammu and Kashmir and has respect among the people. All these are acts of vengeance and it seems that they (Centre) want every Kashmiri to pay for a thought which is in his mind,” she said.
Later, party leaders and activists took out a protest march against the ban on Jamaat-e-Islami. Various party leaders and activists assembled at party headquarters and tried to march towards Lal Chowk City Centre here, but were stopped by a large contingent of policemen near Sher-e-Kashmir Park.