New Delhi: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday described the prevailing situation in Kashmir as continuation of 2008 halla gulla and urged the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to initiate dialogue with “all shades of opinion”.
Mehbooba was on a daylong visit to New Delhi where she met home minister Rajnath Singh to discuss the situation in Kashmir. This was her first visit to New Delhi after a spree of killings by the government forces started in Kashmir following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani and his two associates on July 8.
An official spokesman said that Mehbooba discussed measures to be taken to restore peace in the state.
Talking to reporters she likened the prevailing situation with that of 2010 when 120 civilians were killed during the Omar Abdullah led NC-Congress coalition. She mentioned her own party’s coalition with the Congress in 2008 when, she said, 60 to 70 civilians were killed in the “halla-gulla”.
Mehbooba called for reviving the confidence building and peace process in the State and the region through a productive dialogue process with all shades of the political opinion, as was done by the then NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2003. She said while the problems confronting Jammu and Kashmir could be tackled through short-term economic and developmental initiatives, there has to be a political solution to the problem of Jammu and Kashmir, which could be reached out by involving all the stakeholders in a constructive and result-oriented dialogue process.
Mehbooba said Jammu and Kashmir has been witnessing repeated cycles of deadly violence, and there has to be an end to this vicious cycle of violence, which can be made possible only through a productive dialogue and reconciliation process. “We saw similar volatile situations in 2008 and 2010, resulting in loss of precious human lives, destruction of public properties and enormous economic drop-down as has happened this time around,” she said and added that there has been mounting cynicism in Kashmir over a period of time as every confidence building process initiated in the past was never followed up with sincerity of purpose. She said whether it is the Working Group recommendations, reports of All Party Delegations or recommendations of Interlocutors, there has been, unfortunately, no follow-up on the same resulting in cynicism and alienation in Kashmir, especially among the youth. “I hope the current situation, unlike the past, could be used as an opportunity to reach out to the people in Jammu and Kashmir through tangible confidence building initiatives and provide the much-needed healing touch to them to tide over the trust-deficit,” she said.
Mehbooba said there is a need to heal the wounds of the people in Kashmir who have seen immense tragedies because of violence and bloodshed. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a huge mandate and he can take the bold initiatives on Kashmir. We hope he will start a dialogue process with all shades of political opinion like Vajpayee did,” she said. “These are our own people, our own children who are getting killed or maimed in Kashmir leaving behind a trail of tragedies for the victim families.”
The Chief Minister also called for reviving the dialogue and peace process with Pakistan and turning J&K into a bridge of friendship between the two countries instead of bone of contention. “Not only friendship we want a dialogue process be started so that peace returns to entire sub-continent,” she said.