Mehbooba says violence no solution; asks India, Pak to resolve Kashmir
SRINAGAR: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday said that her government will continue to fight against militancy and there would be not let-up in encounters. She said violence was no solution for the resolution of issues and dialogue was the only way out.
“Encounters have taken place in the past. They are happening now and they will continue to happen in future,” Mehbooba said in her maiden ID speech at Bakshi Stadium.
“What can you do with militants who killed a cop and a civilian at Chansar village in Kulgam? Will you let him go scot free?” she said justifying her argument for encounter killings of militants.
She obliquely blamed her rivals in National Conference (NC) for the current unrest. “I will not talk of separatists. Some people have raked up issues of colonies, which we clarified umpteen times that no colony is being constructed. But they will not listen and keep on raising the issue,” she said.
She claimed there was no mistrust between the people of Jammu and Kashmir and those in India. “The mistrust is between the leadership,” she said. “When the situation worsened in Kashmir, the people went to mainland India for trade and studies of children. If there was mistrust at the public level, how these people would have been absorbed?” she explained.
She said the doors of democracy had been shut for Kashmiris. “I wonder why the democracy was stopped for Kashmir until 2002,” she said referring to 1987 elections. “Now we see Salahuddin in Pakistan, Yasin Malik in jail and Syed Ali Geelani somewhere. They had all taken the path of elections but were not allowed to pursue it,” she said.
“These people could have become MLAs, Ministers or Chief Minister. They wanted to take oath of Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir along with the Constitution of the country,” she said.
Mehbooba said the separatists were then looking for alternatives to National Conference and Congress but “it was not allowed to happen by the leaders here and there (Delhi)”.
“The notion that creating disturbances will lead to resolution of the problem is completely misplaced. Kashmir underwent perilous phase of violence in early nineties leaving behind a scary trail of death and destruction. Have we achieved anything out of that gory era of bloodshed and devastation?” she asked. She said neither stones nor guns either in hands of militants or the in the hands of security forces can enable a peaceful solution of the problem.
“We have to reinforce the resolve to work through peaceful means and through public participation towards restoration of peace in the state,” she said and added that an effort has to be made to reach out to all sections of society. “If we can’t find our solution in the world’s biggest democracy, we won’t find it anywhere else,” she said.
“There is no cut and die or a ready-made formula to resolve the issues confronting Jammu and Kashmir. A solution will only come through an evolutionary process,” she said.
Making an impassioned appeal to all political parties to sink their political differences for the larger objective of achieving peace in J&K, she asked the Pakistani leadership to join India to bring peace to the region. “If you love J&K, scrap the borders, bring J&K and PoK together and make the region an example of SAARC unity,” she said.
The CM caught lying
Embarrassed by the sight of empty stands in the Bakshi Stadium, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti later told the media a lie: that her government had decided to shorten the ID ceremony and that no cultural programme had been scheduled for the event.
The truth is that schoolchildren and artists refused to take part in the official function. The divisional administration had tried hard, even to the extent of blackmailing the school authorities to get children to the venue, but the efforts did not work. The artists, who usually sing songs and dance at the function, also refused to take part. “How could have I sung in front of rulers when I know they are on a killing spree? They are killing our children,” a noted singer told Kashmir Reader.
Mehbooba’s lie on curtailing the entertainment show was nailed when a large contingent of police commandos, known as daredevils, performed bike stunts in the stadium. In fact, two commandos attired as clowns did funny tricks much to the amusement of the chief minister and her cabinet colleagues–Naeem Akhtar, Imran Ansari and Sajjad Lone. Were the stunts in tune with the dance of death going on outside the stadium? The CM did not seem bothered at the thought.