Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday declared her state as the “safest” place for women in the country, a clear retort to Delhi tourism minister Kapil Mishra who mocked her by saying “terrorist are being treated as tourists in Kashmir”.
The slugfest took place at the launch of Bharat International Travel Bazaar (BITB) after Mishra attacked Mufti, asking her to clarify whether she considers slain Hizbul commander Burhan Wani and Parliament attack accused AfzaL Guru as terrorists.
As many in the audience rose to protest against Mishra’s remarks, he questioned the PDP chief’s stance on terrorists, pointing out that a few months ago a Pakistani flag was raised at her house. He sought to know who sheltered terrorists who carried out the attack at an army base in Baramulla.
“Someone must have given them shelter…We can fight with terrorists, Pakistan, but how can we fight with people who shelter terrorists,” he said referring to Mufti’s statement that she would have given Wani a chance had she known he was trapped in an encounter.
A teary-eyed Mufti took to the stage and declared that women were welcome to any part of her state, where there was no fear of being “raped in a moving car”, a clear reference to Delhi’s crime record. “Any place in the world, including Delhi, women are safest in my Kashmir,” said Mufti.
In a veiled response to Mishra’s aspersions on her stance on terrorism, she recalled how when regional leaders in Kashmir, including National Conference founder Sheikh Abdullah, were talking of plebiscite, her father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed opted for Indian form of democracy.
“He (Sayeed) said Indian democracy is the best thing that Kashmir can have and he stood by it till the last…,” she said.
Earlier, declaring “terrorism and tourism cannot go together”, Mishra walked off, refusing to share the stage with her.