The strength of India is in its democracy which is being misplayed, said Mehbooba.

PDP President Mehbooba Mufti

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Amid the intolerance debate, BJP’s alliance partner in Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party, on Saturday, said return of awards by intellectuals was not manufactured but the “beauty of democracy”.”We should be proud of Indian democracy that we can register our protest like this as well,” she said talking at the ‘Aaj Tak Agenda’.The PDP leader also said that India is a unique nation with unity in diversity as its core strength and some “fringe elements, who combine pseudo-Hinduism with nationalism”, lead to the problem.Asked about the charge levelled by certain quarters that the return of awards was “manufactured” and not “spontaneous”, she said, “I don’t think so. The award winners are intelligent and can’t be swayed by anyone.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This is a message for everyone that intolerance will not yield anything beneficial for the country and that too when “we want to move on a path of progress,” she said.Terming the entire debate on which meat to eat and not to eat as “sickening”, she said, adding, “Here we talk about this even when the prices of dal have gone up”.”All this discourse is sickening. All religions have contributed to India’s growth where Hinduism has taught us to be tolerant, Islam has taught us equality and Christianity shows us compassion,” she said.Speaking about ISIS, she said the banned terror group was not a threat to Kashmir and the waving of ISIS or Pakistani flags in the Valley was nothing put a publicity stunt aimed at grabbing media attention.”ISIS does not represent Islam, they are killing Muslims, preaching that atrocities be committed. Islam in Kashmir is different and teaches us to live with neighbours in peace. ISIS will never be a threat to Kashmir,” she said.She asked the media not to give publicity to such elements and recalled an incident of August 15. “There were nearly 20-25,000 people at the venue. We took a conscious decision of keep private television channels out of the venue.””We were apprehensive that one of the TV channels will pass on a Pakistani flag or an ISIS flag to someone in the audience and then the focus will shift from the function and this visual will be repeated again and again.”This would have followed by various debates and at the end we would have to hear that the nation wants to know…” she said as the audience in the hall burst into peals of laughter.

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Intolerance row: Return of awards by intellectuals ‘beauty of democracy’, says PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti