Says bunkers along borders no permanent solution
Jammu: Expressing her reservations on the construction of bunkers along the border in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday once again appealed for peace and a long-lasting solution to the issue.
Making a statement in the Legislative Council, Mehbooba said, “It is unfortunate that we are going back to primitive times when people would live in caves as there was no concept of houses.”
She said that a similar situation was “created along the borders”.
“We will construct bunkers, but who will save the future of our school-going kids? Who will pay for the wastage of our students’ time?” she questioned. “I am happy that PM Narendra Modi has said that it was good if India and Pakistan jointly fought poverty and worked on the developmental front.”
“We all need to have this sense that people are suffering and they are in duress, fleeing for shelter to save their lives,” she said.
However, Mehbooba added, “When we should have discussed about good hospitals and schools, we are demanding bullet-proof ambulances… My head bows in shame.”
She said that students are studying in tents instead of good schools due to the Indo-Pak cross-border shelling. “The time of students is getting wasted, we are playing with their future,” she added.
Implying that bunkers will be constructed soon, the CM, however, said, “But this is not about constructing bunkers. The thing is for how much more time will J&K remain a battlefield between India and Pakistan?
“How long will our soldiers continue to die… for how much more time will people suffer on account of their houses and properties,” Mehbooba asked, adding, “and the same situation would be across as well.
“The common people would be suffering there too as only they get killed… the only difference is the people living across (in Pakistan) are alerted to leave houses (before border tensions erupt),” she said. “Ours is a democratic system, and this thing does not happen here, but the thing is that people suffer on both the sides.”
The CM said that there was a statement that the government of India itself wants to construct bunkers along the borders in Jammu region. “We will take up the issue with the Ministry of Home Affairs about the construction of bunkers, so that they will be constructed as soon as possible,” she said.
“However I have reservations with these bunkers because we should have been talking about good schools. It is unfortunate that J&K state is caught,” she said, referring to the border skirmishes. “The border of India touches Pakistan and China all along (its northern extent), but only J&K is caught in this fire… Our people and children are getting killed.”
Mehbooba said that she expects Pakistan to respond to the Prime Minister’s statement that the two countries should jointly fight poverty and destitution. “We should not fight with each. We are wasting our energies to destroy each other,” she asserted. “And I believe that Pakistan must have listened to what the PM has said and it will positively respond.”
Recalling the days of former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mehbooba said that the people of J&K lived in peace along the borders after the ceasefire was announced in 2003.
“Bunkers are a temporary solution,” she said, “The real solution is that India and Pakistan, who are neighbours of each other, have to learn to live in peace without any war. Bunkers and five-marla land won’t solve it.”
She said, “We take the sacrifices of people living along the borders for granted… we continue killing their people… but aren’t those living along the borders human?”
The CM said, “We need to think about the policy for these people so as to stop this bloodshed, and Pakistan too needs to do so.”
“Pakistan is a small country and has poverty too, but I believe they will take the words of the PM seriously and peace will return to the borders,” she said.