In fresh appeal for peace, CM expresses hurt at seeing youth who were her ‘shields’ carrying stones in their hands
Srinagar: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday said that she would invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help solve the problem of unemployment in Kashmir if the people help her in restoring “peace”.
“I can’t guarantee government jobs but I will invite the Prime Minister and request him to give a solution for unemployment. Give me peace, I promise you jobs,” Mehbooba told a gathering of her party workers here. “I will bring the PM and you should come that time,” she said.
She said she had directed the security establishment to bring back local youth who have joined militancy in the Valley.
“I am glad that one dozen youth have returned. I want to build gardens in which you can work, instead of creating graveyards,” she said, adding, “Support me and if you feel cheated, take whatever decision you want in the 2020 elections.”
Mehbooba said she was saddened after watching stones in the hands of the youth who acted as her “bodyguards” in villages during her visits.
“You were my bodyguard when I used to visit your villages and would be my shield. It hurts me to see my shields with stones in their hands. Give me a chance,” she appealed.
“I don’t have a relation of votes with you. I remember mothers, daughters who used to come to me to plead for release of their children. Police stations, camps, which were attacked by our youth, were the ones where people had to open their pherans while passing from there. When we formed the government in 2002, the situation improved drastically,” she said.
She said that the situation in Kashmir worsened because the political process of peace started by her father, the late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, was not taken ahead. “We would not have had this bad situation if that process had been taken ahead,” she said.
Her father, Mehbooba said, made the “biggest sacrifice” by forming a coalition with the BJP. “The biggest sacrifice Mufti sahib gave for future of our youth was to join hands with BJP. Our purpose was to do something for our youth, to take forward former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee’s mission. As the BJP’s coalition with us was unpopular in Jammu, similarly it was for us here,” she said.
Referring to the 2016 agitation, she said that the situation took a wrong turn after she assumed the charge of chief minister. “I am saddened by the children who lost their lives and got injured. You are my family as you made me Mehbooba Mufti. You honoured me. When we organised Muzaffarabad Chalo (during PDP-Congress government), our 14 youth were martyred and only then was the road opened. You sacrificed lives to achieve that dream. If anything was achieved in the past 70 years, it is the Rawalakote-Muzaffarabad road,” Mehbooba said.
She said Kashmir had huge talent and it could produce hundreds of achievers like cricketer Parvez Rasool and kickboxing champion Tajamul of Bandipora.
She said she would empower panchayats and would ask elders to give a chance to youth in the upcoming panchayat elections.
“You want empowerment? I will give powers to the panchayat more than the power of MLAs. I request elders to give chance to youth,” she said, adding that bikes would be given to the students who passed Class 10 exams.