ANANTNAG: The people of Jammu and Kashmir have to choose between peace and violence, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Sunday, asking students to focus on their education and letting elders address bigger issues.
“The people here need to decide… they need to think what they want and how they want it. (Whether) by pelting stones, by killing bright children like (young army officer) Umer Fayaz, or a bank employee or a youth working in police, or by resorting to looting banks and weapons?” Mehbooba said to reporters on the sidelines of a function in her constituency Anantnag in south Kashmir.
“Are we not, God forbid, strangulating Kashmiriyat? I am hopeful that people here are fundamentally peace-loving and prefer brotherhood. They will not forget the teachings of Kashmiriyat of co-existence with every religion,” she said.
On being asked about the student protests, Mehbooba said that students should focus on their education. “They all are our children, whether they study in schools or not. I think our children are intelligent and I have said it time and again that wherever our children go, whether in sports or education or KAS and IAS examinations, or outside the country, they excel. But, unfortunately, I think someone has cast an evil eye on their intelligence, on the people of Kashmir and on this beautiful valley. I feel that children should study and bigger issues should be addressed by the elders,” she said.
She appealed to parents and teachers to help students focus on their studies.
The chief minister had on Saturday met 21-year-old football coach Afshan Ashiq. A photograph that captured her hurling stones at policemen was widely circulated on social media.
Mehbooba said that corruption is a big issue in Jammu and Kashmir but it takes a backseat before the law and order situation. “Corruption is a big issue. Unfortunately, when the situation deteriorates here, all our attention shifts towards maintaining law and order. All other issues – like of development and corruption – remain somewhere behind,” she said.