Launching a scathing attack on the administration and Central government, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday accused the BJP of pushing its “Hindutva agenda in J&K”.
The PDP chief was reacting to a video, which she also posted on her Twitter handle, wherein schools kids in Kulgam, around 70km from Srinagar in south Kashmir, were seen singing a bhajan ‘Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram…’ purportedly urged by their teachers.
“Jailing religious scholars, shutting down Jama Masjid & directing school kids here to sing Hindu hymns exposes the real Hindutva agenda of GOI in Kashmir. Refusing these rabid dictates invites PSA & UAPA. It is the cost that we are paying for this so-called ‘Badalta J&K’,” she said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, the tehsildar of DH Pora in Kulgam district, Rouf Ahmad Lone said that he has also come across the video, “As such, there has been no complaint by anybody officially but we are looking into the issue.”
Talking to reporters in Jammu in the evening, Mehbooba Mufti said, “India is a democratic country where the constitution has given equal rights to all the religions– Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and others to practice and follow their faith. This was the only reason that J&K despite being a Muslim majority state had chosen secular India over Pakistan (in 1947) thinking that our identity and religion will be protected.”
“Unfortunately, they (BJP) snatched our identity (Article 370 on August 5, 2019) and what they are doing with our land and jobs is already known to all. But, now they are after our religion… our Jamia Masjid in Srinagar is locked since 2019 and none can offer prayers there,” she said.
In this context, she also referred to three religious scholars, who were recently booked under PSA for what she claimed: “were their old statements, for which they were already punished under the law.”
She said that latest in the BJP’s “Hindutva agenda” in Kashmir was forcing Muslim students to sing bhajan.
“In the latest development, Muslim students are now being asked to sing a bhajan and teachers are also doing it. I feel they (BJP) are directly attacking our religion and it appears that BJP is pursuing its Hindutva agenda in J&K, which has already been converted into a laboratory by them. This is wrong and can’t be allowed. People of J&K have long kept their patience but we will not allow it. We respect Gandhi ji a lot but we can’t allow Muslim students to sing this bhajan,” she said.
To a query, she asked why the government stopped another song “lab pe ati hai dua ban ke tammna meri, zindagi shama ki surat ho khudaya meri” in schools.
“Why it was done away with. There was no mention of religion in it. What was wrong with it,” she said.
The PDP president also took a swipe at the “BJP’s love for Gandhi ji”.
“What is Gandhi ji to them because they worship Nathuram Godse, the biggest terrorist, who murdered Gandhi ji,” she said.
The 105-second long video first shows the board of the government high school in South Kashmir’s Kulgam, before showing about two dozen students in school uniform singing the song with folded hands in the presence of a group of teachers.
National Conference spokesman Imran Nabi Dar also shared a part of the video.
“Somewhere in South Kashmir, these children are being MADE to sing Hindu devotional songs. Have our education institutions been turned into a political tool? The video is self-explanatory,” Dar said in a tweet.