In his first public appearance after being released on bail in a militancy-related case in May, PDP leader Waheed Parra Sunday asked the Kashmiri youth to choose democratic means over violence to achieve their goals.
Parra, president of the PDP’s youth wing, also appealed to party president Mehbooba Mufti to fill in her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s shoes.
Addressing a convention of the party’s youth wing, Parra said one thing that has not changed even after August 5, 2019 when the Centre revoked Article 370 is the killing of Kashmiri youths.
“A Kashmiri youth was getting killed before that and are getting killed even now. Whatever name they give them, the youth’s safety is still not guaranteed.
“Whatever has taken place against us, has been justified because of violence or guns. We have to take a decision consciously that stubbornness and guns will not work and we have to fight at the democratic-level so that nothing is justified against killing of youths,” he said.
He said Kashmiri people do not need more parties and leaders, but a leadership.
“Wherever I go, even when I was in jail, people tell me that there were a lot of expectations from Mehbooba Mufti. They tell me Mehbooba is the only one to talk about the issues confronting the people of Kashmir.
“An important point that a Kashmiri is saying is that if Mufti saahab had been alive, the situation would have been different… Article 370 would not have been abrogated,” he said.
Asserting that there was a “vacuum” in Kashmir, Parra said the situation in 1990s was the worst.
“Not only were there gun-wielding youths, there was Task Force (special operations group of police) and rampant arrests as well. The government was doing what the terrorists were.
“Kashmiri people feel the void left by Mufti saahab has to be filled and it is the only medicine. So, Mehbooba ji’s biggest challenge is that she needs to apply a balm on the wounds of the people of Kashmir,” he said.
It is a huge challenge for Mehbooba ji, Parra said, adding the responsibility lies on her since she is his “shadow” and has spent a lot of time with her father.
“Rest, whatever is up to us, be it support or vote, we are with you. This is a collective fight and we will fight at democratic level, constitutional level,” he added.
Parra was granted bail by the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court in May this year after 18 months in jail.