New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday termed the People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), a conglomerate of political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, an "unholy global alliance" and alleged that it, along with the Congress, wants to take Jammu and Kashmir back to the era of terror and turmoil.
In a series of tweets, Shah alleged that the "Gupkar Gang is going global" and wants foreign forces to intervene in Jammu and Kashmir.
The conglomerate of regional and national political parties in Jammu and Kashmir was formed defending the restoration of the Article 370, scrapped last year.
"Congress and the Gupkar Gang want to take J&K back to the era of terror and turmoil. They want to take away rights of Dalits, women and tribals that we have ensured by removing Article 370. This is why they're being rejected by the people everywhere," he said.
Shah said Jammu and Kashmir has been, is and will always remain an integral part of India and the people of the country will no longer tolerate an unholy 'global gathbandhan' against India's national interest.
"Either the Gupkar Gang swims along with the national mood or else the people will sink it," he said.
The home minister also questioned Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi whether they support the PAGD.
"The Gupkar Gang also insults India's Tricolour. Do Sonia Ji and Rahul Ji support such moves of the Gupkar Gang? They should make their stand crystal clear to the people of India," he said.
On August 4, 2019, a day before the central government announced the abrogation of the Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, political parties in Kashmir, except the BJP, met at the residence of National Conference president Farooq Abdullah at Gupkar Road in Srinagar.
They had also issued a joint statement defending Article 370.
The constituents of the conglomerate include the National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, CPM, Jammu and Kashmir People's Conference and Awami National Conference.
The Congress recently announced that it will have a seat sharing arrangement with the PAGD for the forthcoming elections to the District Development Council in Jammu and Kashmir.
National Conference's Farooq Abdullah is its chairman and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti vice-chairperson. Veteran CPM leader M Y Tarigami is its convenor while People's Conference leader Sajjad Gani Lone is the spokesperson.
Mehbooba hits back
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday hit back at Amit Shah over his remarks, saying such comments were aimed at diverting people's attention from rising unemployment and inflation.
Mehbooba said the "BJP's stale tactic of dividing India by projecting themselves as saviours and political opponents as internal and imagined enemies is far too predictable now."
"Love jihad, tukde tukde and now Gupkar Gang dominates the political discourse instead of (issues) like rising unemployment and inflation," she said.
The PDP chief also wondered whether fighting elections in an alliance is also anti-national now. "BJP can stitch as many alliances in its hunger for power but somehow we are undermining national interest by putting up a united front," she said.
"Old habits die hard. Earlier BJP's narrative was that the tukde tukde gang threatened India's sovereignty and they are now using 'Gupkar Gang' euphemism to project us as anti-nationals. Irony died a million deaths since it's BJP itself that violates the constitution day in and day out," she tweeted.
I can understand the frustration: Omar Abdullah
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah reacted sharply on Tuesday to comments of Home Minister Amit Shah, and said the frustration stems from the political amalgam deciding to contest the forthcoming local body elections and not giving the BJP and its allies a free run.
Reacting to a series of tweets by Shah, Omar, who is also vice president of the National Conference, said, "We are not a gang Amit Shah Ji, we are legitimate political alliance having fought and continuing to fight election, much to your disappointment."
Taking a veiled dig at the newly formed Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party, Omar said, "I can understand the frustration behind this attack by the Hon'ble Home Minister. He had been briefed that the People's Alliance was preparing to boycott elections. This would have allowed the BJP and newly formed King's party a free run in J&K. We didn't oblige them." He said that only leaders in Jammu and Kashmir can be detained and called anti-national for participating in elections and supporting the democratic process.
"The truth is all those who oppose the ideology of the BJP are labelled 'corrupt and anti-national'," he tweeted.