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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Stop practice of buying loyalties: Mehbooba

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Srinagar, September 25, 2013
First Published: 20:02 IST(25/9/2013) | Last Updated: 20:03 IST(25/9/2013)

Opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday asked national parties, the BJP and Congress, to intervene and bring an end to "malpractices carried out in the name of national interest and the practice of buying loyalties in Kashmir".

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"The revelations made in the government inquiry report on the army payments in Kashmir have dented credibility of mainstream political parties. We have an egg on our face as it has shaken whatever faith people have in the democratic system," said Mehbooba in Srinagar.

Referring to former army chief VK Singh's revelations that the army paid to J&K ministers to maintain peace and stability, Mehbooba said, "No one in the discourse has disapproved of these methods or denied their existence."

Demanding an investigation through a credible institution, Mehbooba said, "These methods are a part of the Kashmir policy of the government of India. The state has been reduced to a security enterprise, which is fuelled by two inputs: money and political patronage."

Mehbooba said the government of India could convert this expose into an opportunity to make a fresh start.

"Instead of pursuing the same line and trying to cover up the excesses committed in the name of national interest so far, it is time for a fresh beginning," she said.

"The way to our hearts does not pass through middlemen and bribes, subsidies and economic packages. Winning hearts in present circumstances would look too ambitious but a modest beginning could be made to build some credibility in the system by taking some visible measures," she added.

The PDP president sought assurances from the powers in Delhi to "treat votes as sacrosanct".

"It should not be managed, manoeuvred or rigged to unseat one party or install another. The security or political establishment of the country should stay away from playing patrons or promoting favourites in the name of national interest," she said.

Mehbooba added that if the army wants to contribute to Kashmir then "it should vacate the land and hotels occupied at tourist places". The PDP chief also accused the ruling National Conference of using the exposé "as a fig leaf to cover its atrocities in 2010 that left 120 dead".

"Those who were gunned down by police and security forces were dubbed as criminals, anti-nationals, drug addicts and paid agents. Now the ruling party is singing a different tune," she alleged.

Mehbooba asked chief minister Omar Abdullah to tender "an unqualified apology to the families of the dead".


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