Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday hit out at those blaming her party for aligning with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state.
Addressing a function in Anantnag district where four new trains were flagged off, Mehbooba Mufti said that before she took oath as the chief minister, some people had suggested that she should not continue with the alliance BJP.
"I told them that in 1947, the state had acceded to the entire country that includes the BJP, the Congress, the RSS and the Communist parties," she said.
She, however, asserted that the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 was guaranteed by the Constitution of India and she was bound by her oath of office to protect that status.
"When we fight elections, whether it is the BJP or the Congress or the PDP, we take an oath that we will protect the constitutions of India and of the state.
"The special status of the state is our identity and we have to protect it," she said.
Mehbooba Mufti said that at a recent conference in Delhi where the Chief Justice of India and other judges were present, she told them that the state's special status was given under Article 370 of the Constitution, "and so it needs to be protected by all of us.
"There are a lot of misconceptions about Jammu and Kashmir. The people here are very nice and peaceful."
She said girls in Jammu and Kashmir were "safer compared to the rest of the country.
"If four girls come to visit Kashmir on their own, they will see the whole Valley without any untoward incident taking place.
"But the people in our country do not know this. The good things about Kashmir do not reach people outside," she lamented.
"The discussion is only about someone pelting a stone or waving a flag. I feel this (train) service is the start of good things and I want the hardship of the people to go.
"India is such a big country where democracy thrives, where different people live together. You see that more Hindus than Muslims visit Ajmer Sharif, the idols in famous temples are being made by Muslims of India.
"This extraordinary civilisation was what my father Mufti Muhammad Sayeed saw in Aligarh during his student days.
"When he returned, he held only one flag in his hand and did not change his stand."
She said doctors and engineers from Kashmir who are working in the US and Britain told her that when they say they are from India, "they are not looked at with suspicion".
She also said her government will do everything to lessen the burden on the common man, but added that "everything will be done step by step. Nothing can be achieved in one go".
She said the government will now try to increase the frequency of train services so that pressure on the roads is lessened.
Interacting with a group of school children who took part in the maiden train journey, she asked them about facilities at their schools.
Four new trains between Bannihal in Jammu region and Baramulla town in the Kashmir Valley were flagged off at Anantnag railway station.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu flagged off the trains through video-conferencing from Rail Bhavan in New Delhi.
Later, Mehbooba Mufti also travelled on the train from Anantnag to Baramulla and then from Baramulla to Srinagar.