Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a rare tirade on Monday attacked the Congress, ruling at the Centre, and accused it of playing "favourites" to the ruling National Conference in Kashmir.
"New Delhi must build bridges with people here rather than playing favourites, which led to most problems in the region in the past," alleged PDP president Mehbooba Mufti.
She addressed a huge rally in Srinagar in a show of youth power, which has become a buzz this summer with all political parties focusing on youth after the 2010 summer agitation witnessed a groundswell of young boys participating in street protests.
Launching a direct attack on the Congress, Mehbooba warned the Centre against "dealing with J&K through power brokers".
"Kashmir had become an island of darkness, corruption, misgovernance, and nepotism as a result of denial of justice, democracy and fair play in J&K," said Mehbooba.
The PDP raising its ante is seen in the backdrop of the Congress' complete support of chief minister Omar Abdullah when his name mired in a controversy that saw death of an NC 'fixer-cum-leader' immediate after he was handed over to the crime branch by the chief minister himself.
"Without accountability of rulers, as in rest of the country, problems of Kashmir will not go," she said, apparently referring to the allegations of corruption and death charges against the chief minister.
Dozens of PDP youth leaders were carrying placards on misgovernance and corruption as Mehbooba fired her salvos against the Congress, coalition partner of the PDP in the past regime that governed Kashmir from 2002-08. The police stopped the PDP workers from marching on the busy street of Lal Chowk.
"While an anti-corruption movement is going on through out the country, Kashmir had been deliberately kept out of the application of laws on this vital subject," alleged Mehbooba.
Kashmiris, Mehbooba said, feel isolated and neglected while they see ministers, bureaucrats and businessmen fill jails on corruption charges in the country but, on the contrast, the corrupt politicians being protected and defended in Kashmir.
In a direct attack on the chief minister, Mehbooba said governments of Maharashtra and Karnataka had tumbled on lesser charges than the ones faced by Omar Abdullah.
"Here a man walked into the CM's home, discussed money matters of the family, left in a sick state and died: still no cognizance is taken and even an FIR is not filed," alleged Mehbooba.
Accusing New Delhi of double standards, Mehbooba said, "Even Anna Hazare and his team spearheading the anticorruption campaign was now called to account but in J&K the rulers and in particular the Abdullah family enjoyed immunity against accountability. They are treated above law."