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Mehbooba Mufti Kickstarts Poll Campaign, says ‘Kashmir has been converted into jail’

Photo: PDP/Meta

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti commenced her election campaign for the Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha constituency with a roadshow, pledging to amplify the concerns of “marginalized voices” in Jammu and Kashmir.

Speaking to reporters after the roadshow, Mufti said, “I have started my election campaign to raise my voice against this enforced silence, the wanton arrests and atmosphere of suffocation that prevails here.”

Mufti highlighted the significance of beginning her campaign in Pulwama and Shopian, areas that have historically supported her party. She expressed hope that the electorate would rally behind her message, which aims to address the longstanding issues faced by the region.

Accusing authorities of initiating a wave of youth arrests since the announcement of elections, Mufti criticized the pervasive atmosphere of repression and the conversion of Kashmir into what she described as a “jail.”

“Entire Kashmir has been converted into a jail. No one is allowed to talk. Since the elections have been announced, the process of arrests has also started,” Mufti said. “You must have heard that recently militants shot at a tourist guide in Shopian which is an unfortunate development. But it does not mean that you will arrest hundreds of youth and place them under the Public Safety Act,” she added.

Asserting that the oppressive climate extended beyond specific districts, Mufti questioned the authorities’ assertion of normalcy in the region amidst widespread arrests. She underscored the need for accountability and transparency in addressing the grievances of Kashmiri youth.

During her campaign, Mufti was accompanied by Waheed Para, the youth president of the PDP and candidate for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat.

“Waheed is here with me. He has suffered everything in the past few years. I feel that he reflects Kashmir and what is happening with its people and its youth,” she said.

The Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat, where Mufti is contesting against National Conference candidate Mian Altaf Ahmad, is scheduled for polls in the third phase of elections on May 7.

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