JAMMU: Senior PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig on Thursday accused incarcerated party chief Mehbooba Mufti of being responsible for downgrading of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories by making "provocative" and "threatening" statements over Article 370.
Baig, a former deputy chief minister, met reporters here on a day when envoys from 15 countries were in the newly carved out union territory, and it was the first interaction by any PDP leader with mediapersons since August 5 when the Centre announced nullification of the erstwhile state's special status.
"The statement was made by Mehbooba Mufti in my absence. I was not there when she made it. I have on record said that the statement like it resulted in downgrading of the state (JK) into union territories," Baig, who is one of the founding members of the PDP, told reporters here.
Mufti had in 2017 warned the Centre that if special rights and privileges to the people of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution are tinkered with, then there would be no one in the state to hold the tricolour.
She had made similar statements on many occasions after that.
Baig criticized the "provocative" statements of Mufti and said one cannot "threaten" the top leadership in New Delhi to see one's grievances being heard.
"If Jammu and Kashmir has to live together and if we have to bat for our rights, we have to talk with decency and humility.
"We cannot get anything by browbeating and threatening Modi ji, home minister or NSA. As citizens of India, we should put before them our grievances and our problems with humility," the PDP leader said.
He rued that such statements should not have been made.
Mufti has been critical of the Centre over the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370.
In August last year when the Centre announced the abrogation of Article 370 provisions and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into union territories -- J and K and Ladakh, Mufti had said India failed Kashmir in keeping its promises, terming the government's decision as "illegal and unconstitutional".
Mufti was detained in the early hours of August 5 and was kept at Hari Nivas, but was later shifted to Chesma Shahi and lodged in a tourist hut located at the foothills of Zaberwan range there.
On November 15, she was shifted to a government accommodation in Srinagar from the tourist hut as the approaching winters and frequent power cuts had made it difficult for her to stay there, according to officials.
A team of 15 envoys including the US Ambassador to India Kenneth I Juster arrived in Srinagar on Thursday on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, the first by diplomats since August last year.