As the annual pilgrimage of Amarnath Shrine is ongoing and the government for security purposes have stalled the national highways in the state of Jammu and Kashmir for smooth passage of the pilgrims, Mehbooba Mufti - former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and PDP chief had claimed that the arrangements of Yatra has been done in a way to hamper the people of Kashmir.
When asked about her views on the stalling of national highway and linking roads, she lashed out on the Central government accusing that Yatra's arrangements have been done badly this year. Speaking to media in Anantnag, she said:
"This yatra is going on since many years . Kashmiris waited for this yatra throughout year. But unfortunately this year arrangements has been done in a way that it seems it's against Kashmiri people. Kashmiris can't drive. They have to stall. In medical emergency also they have been stalled to pass yatra first. This is not done. They (yatris) are our guests. We welcome them but their arrival cannot be injustice to locals. If govt will create hurdle for the locals then it will hamper the brotherhood. Requesting governor to intervene and don't make it a security matter but consider it as a pilgrimage matter. Main roads should not be stalled for locals is what I say."
She also added that the sense of brother hood is hampered when the government makes the Amarnath Yatra a matter of security and not pilgrimage. This comes despite the 2017 terror attack on the Amarnath Yatris in which 8 civilian pilgrims were martyred on their way to the Temple shrine.
In the same press meet, batting for talks with Hurriyat, Mufti said that the Central government must talk with the moderate faction of the Hurriyat who are ready for talks. This is not the first time that Mufti has criticised the Central government for not bringing the Hurriyat to the negotiation table in solving the situation in Kashmir valley.
"We had urged that people should give mandate so that we can push the Central govt for talks, but we didn't get the mandate. BJP did. If they want then they can solve the problem. Rajnath Singh ji kept saying that he is ready for talks but from here there was no response. The mistake that our separatist leaders did at that time, now Central Government is repeating the same mistake. They have time and opportunity talk with moderate faction of Hurriyat."