The anti-encroachment drive launched in Jammu and Kashmir is a new “weapon” for the BJP government to “persecute” people and uproot them from their homes, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti alleged on Wednesday.

Talking to reporters here, the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister called upon the people of the Union Territory to unite in order to fight against this “onslaught”.

“This is a new weapon being used by the BJP government, like they have the UAPA, PSA, NIA, ED and other agencies, to persecute the people of Jammu and Kashmir and uproot them from their homes,” the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president said.

“Otherwise, China has occupied 20,000 square kilometres of our land, let the government take that land back first,” she claimed.

Mufti said some of the people who have been targeted through the anti-encroachment drive possessed their land since the time of Maharaja Hari Singh, like the Hotel Nedous here.

“First they created a wedge between Hindus and Muslims, then between Gujjars and Bakerwals and Shias and Sunnis. Now, they are creating a wedge between the rich and the poor by saying they are going against the rich, while the truth is that the houses of poor people are being demolished.

“This is totally wrong and I request the people here to see how the people of Ladakh and Kargil have united. Till the people of Kashmir and Jammu do not unite, we will not be able to fight this onslaught…. Do not be a spectator, come forward and raise the issues,” she said.

The PDP chief said the Raj Bhavan and the Badami Bagh Cantonment area in Srinagar were built on state land and should be vacated first.

“Where is the Governor House and the BB Cantonment? If they are saying they are starting (the drive) against influential people, then start it from the Governor House and the BB Cantonment. Why are they not doing that?” she asked.

The former chief minister also alleged that the drive is a part of the corruption mechanism in Jammu and Kashmir.

“I want to tell you this with great responsibility that this is part of corruption. They want to take money from the rich and votes from the poor. They want to make the poor helpless so that they are called to the BJP office and asked to support the party. The rich are told to meet a specific official,” Mufti said.