PAHALGAM: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Thursday seemingly contradicted himself during a speech at the inaugural function of a club here.
Hinting at the ongoing spate of killings in the state, Mufti first said that “Someone has cast an evil on Kashmir, which was a centuries-old tourist destination. I don’t know what has gone wrong with Kashmir,” Mufti said, adding that ideas of people cannot be changed by bullets, but only by ideas. Minutes later, he claimed that “J&K is the peacefullest (sic) place in the world”.
“Even the ideas of an imprisoned child cannot be changed. I firmly believe that ideas cannot be changed by bullets or grenades but only by ideas,” Mufti had said. Then, later, he said, “As home minister of the state I have never heard that anyone has been murdered. Kashmir is a place where not even thefts take place. We have to come out of this perception that Kashmir is not peaceful.”
In one of his earlier speeches Mufti had claimed that “No killings by government forces have taken place” during his six-month tenure. However, since he took over as CM this year, at least two civilians, according to official records, have been killed by government forces: one in Narbal on the outskirts of Srinagar and another in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district.
Mufti had even called for a special inquiry into the Narbal killing, which resulted in the suspension of two policemen.
The CM also hinted there were dissenting voices within his party on his ‘handshake’ with the BJP. “Many sections, even some of my party men and cabinet ministers, were asking what Modi’s handshake had given to Mufti. But I have full faith in Modi who extended his hand towards me. The handshake between us was a strategic vision. The phase of transformation, change and development that has taken place in the last six months is unprecedented,” Mufti said.
Mufti also said the future of Kashmir lies with India and nobody could alter the special status of the state under the Indian federation.
The CM was speaking at the inauguration of a club in Pahalgam, which has been reconstructed ten years after it was gutted in a fire.