Mehbooba says govt to probe if disproportionate force used, punish ‘provocateurs’; Modi appeals for calm
By A Aalim Ahmad
Srinagar: History has repeated itself. In July 2010, when Kashmir rose in revolt against India, once again, after gruesome killings of youngsters, then Home minister in New Delhi announced imposition of curfew in the Valley.
Afterwards, army conducted a flag march in Srinagar and the situation was handled by New Delhi directly. PDP, which was in opposition, taunted Omar Abdullah for surrendering his authority.
On Tuesday, the situation turned out to be the same albeit with the reversal of the roles of the characters. Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti was not invited by New Delhi to participate in a special meeting at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence. The meeting was held to discuss the emerging situation in Kashmir.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to maintain calm so that the situation can normalise in the Valley.
“He has appealed to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to maintain peace so that the situation can normalise. He also expressed hope that no innocent person should face any kind of inconvenience or loss,” Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh said.
The Prime Minister also expressed satisfaction over the progress of the Amarnath Yatra and said whatever help needed by the state government will be provided by the Centre. Singh said the Prime Minister voiced concern over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, gave guidance and also appealed for peace.
Except Dr Jatendra Singh, who by virtue of being MoS in PMO and a senior BJP leader, no one from Jammu and Kashmir attended the meeting. Everything about the embattled state was discussed by the people at the helm of affairs in New Delhi. The CM was not even contacted telephonically during the meeting.
This happened a day after New Delhi took charge of the situation and virtually asked the state government to stay aside. Companies of additional paramilitaries were rushed in and deployed in sensitive areas without thorough consultation with the state authorities.
New Delhi activated the Raj Bhawan for its effective intervention in the situation. On Monday, Governor NN Vohra summoned Chief Secretary Brij Raj Sharma and Director General of Police K Rajindra Kumar to take a briefing on the overall situation, especially the possibility of resumption of Amarnath yatra and the status of stranded tourists in capital Srinagar. Interestingly, a day he intervened in the situation, the Governor met Mehbooba at Raj Bhawan on Tuesday afternoon.
What Mehbooba did during the day was to appeal to the people to help the administration in restoration of peace and order. Later, her message to the people was recorded at her Fair View residence and the recordings sent to DD and Radio Kashmir.
In her message, she said the death of 30 persons and injuries to hundreds others is an “intolerable tragedy”.
“The government will investigate whether legal action can be taken against the persons who used disproportionate force in these circumstances,” she said, and added, “at the same time, the government reiterates that the miscreants who go from place to place to instigate local youngsters to attack camps and police stations before fleeing from the scene will also be dealt with.”
“These elements are more dangerous than the militants who take up arms and fight against the security forces,” Mehbooba said.
She said the “people in thousands attend the funerals of the slain youngsters but afterwards leave their kin at the mercy of circumstances.”
However, CM’s absence from the ground, provided her rival Omar Abdullah an opportunity to settle old scores.
Shortly after the PM’s meeting in New Delhi, he complained of Jammu and Kashmir being “unrepresented” at the high-level meeting.
In a tweet, Omar said that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s presence at the meeting could have been ensured via video-conferencing.
“I understand if Mehbooba Mufti didn’t leave the state to attend (the meeting) but why not by video conference? State unrepresented,” Omar wrote on Twitter.
Besides Modi, Rajnath Singh and Dr Singh, the meeting was also attended by finance minister Arun Jaitley, defence minister Manohar Parrikar, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, , National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and other high officials.
The ruling PDP chief spokesman Dr Mehboob Beg did not respond to the calls by Kashmir Reader on the issue.