KATRA: Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti likened Handwara killings to two massacres in the past—killing of four of a Hindu family in Baljarala, Rajouri in 1999 and the massacre of 35 Sikhs in Chittisinghpora in 2000.
An official spokesman quoted Mehbooba telling a rally in Katra today, “We have witnessed several tragic incidents in the past, like in Baljarala in Rajouri, Chittisinghpora in Anantnag and more recently in Handwara, where innocent people have been fatally caught in the vortex of violence. We need to take immediate steps to bring an end to this permanently.”
Five persons were killed by army and police during protests in the past week in Kupwara district.
The CM said providing a “sense of security to the youth” in the state is one of her prime responsibilities. She sought prime minister Narendra Modi’s cooperation in addressing the issue so that “no more innocent lives are lost to mindless violence”.
Mehbooba shared dais with Modi who inaugurated the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Super-Speciality Hospital and Sports Complex at Katra.
She said the government of India and J&K government will have to “overcome the challenge and join hands to win the hearts and minds of the people, especially the youth”.
“I have great hope and expectations from my party’s alliance with the BJP. My father said on many occasions that when he shook hands with Narendra Modi, he was, in fact, joining hands with a billion people of India who had reposed their faith in his leadership,” she said.
She said time has come to end the State’s predicament and devise a new strategy that promises an era of sustainable peace and development.
Mehbooba Mufti also had a word of appreciation for Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University for ably demonstrating how endowment money can be channeled back into the society by creating durable assets. “I am happy that SMVDU has become a role model for the rest of the institutes of higher learning to emulate,” she stated.
The Chief Minister described J&K as a Miniature India, chosen by Lord Shiva and Mata Vaishno Devi as their abode. She also shared some of her anecdotes with the audience by vividly remembering her frequent visits to the holy town of Katra during her college days.
“It gives all of us a sense of great pride that devotees from all over the country come to J&K in droves to pay their obeisance,” she remarked.