Srinagar: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Sunday that the youths leading the ongoing anti-India uprising are “being paid to vitiate the atmosphere.”
Mehbooba Mufti spoke to reporters at Srinagar outside an examination centre where she faced hostile people, mostly parents of the students.
S“Kashmir is being consumed by violence — a place where a 10-year-old boy slaps a shopkeeper. Gangs of masked children roam the streets and young girls are threatened they would be set on fire for riding scooties,” Mehbooba said while commenting on the ongoing protests in Kashmir.
“Is this the Kashmir that we want to see? Is this the solution to Kashmir? Targeting women and elderly people?” she asked.
“People wearing decent clothes are being intimidated, respectable citizens are humiliated and unsuspecting travellers are being pillaged in the name of protests,” Mehbooba said adding “such hideous activities are not only unacceptable but unbecoming of a civilized society”.
Mehbooba, however, did not refer to the use of brute force by the police and paramilitaries under her command during the past three weeks, which killed more than 50 civilians, whose “sacrifices” she said she “won’t let go waste.” These victims include two women whose killing army later “regretted”.
Mehbooba said many forces have joined hands to vitiate the atmosphere and “send innocent children to various localities to create trouble.”
“Those who have other ideology should also feel the pain of the younger generation getting affected. What do they want to achieve by this (violence)?” she asked. She said stone-pelting was a “business” for some people.
“They spend money, send children from one area to another to create trouble, divert children and lead them to police stations and forces camps, because they know there will be retaliation. Only common people will get killed, while the instigators run away.”
Reiterating that the issues can be resolved only through dialogue and not through violence, the Chief Minister said violence has been rejected globally as a means to achieve political objectives. “The proponents of violent protests in Kashmir must also engage in dialogue to resolve the issues instead of perpetuating violence which has only brought death and destruction on their people,” she said and added that Kashmir has already lost a generation of youth to the violence and can’t afford to bear with this tragic human loss for ever. She said everyone should “feel the pain” of the future generation.
Clearly fearing reprimand from her coalition partner BJP for referring to the issue of Kashmir, Mehbooba chose it to call “an issue in the minds of the people.”
“It needs to be addressed. Mufti Mohammad Sayeed used to say bullets and grenades cannot solve issues. Gun has not changed anything. There is no way out other than dialogue,” she said.
“While the security forces have been able to contain the situation but there was an issue in the minds of the people which needs to be addressed. We brought in security forces and they contained the situation. But there is an issue which is in the minds. It has to be addressed,” she added.