Srinagar: Asking resistance leadership to come forward for talks and save the state from “bloodshed”, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday termed the unilateral ceasefire and the offer of dialogue by the government of India as an opportunity that does not come every day.
“The people of Kashmir and the leadership here have to decide on the opportunity provided by the government in terms of unilateral ceasefire, which stopped the bloodshed here, and then the readiness for dialogue, how we benefit from it,” Mehbooba said while addressing a convention of her Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) here.
Mehbooba said the ceasefire and talks offer an opportunity to the resistance leadership to stop bloodshed in Jammu and Kashmir.
She said there are other parties who are not in the mainstream, and if they have some other agenda, they have an opportunity now if they want to stop bloodshed in J&K. “We always say that there has to be a political solution to J&K and the army or CRPF or police cannot resolve it,’ she said.
“It can only be resolved politically thorough dialogue. And when there is an offer of dialogue from the government of India, I request all stake holders to come forward to save J&K and its economy,” she said.
While the government of India announced unilateral ceasefire for the holy month of Ramadhan, Rajnath Singh recently said the government was ready to talk to resistance leadership in the valley if they are willing for a dialogue.
The chief minister said while she cannot force the resistance leadership, they have to think on giving the youth in Kashmir a way out from the “stone and gun culture”.
“We cannot force you or give you a dictation, but can only request even a day before yesterday a youth got killed after he came under a vehicle during stone-pelting. He was an orphan but why take to stone-pelting? Why not give them a way out from this morass, from stone or gun culture,” she said.
Putting the onus on the resistance leadership, Mehbooba said the mainstream parties in the state gave them an opportunity by providing an atmosphere for talks and now it was up to the resistance leadership to take advantage of the opportunity.
“We (mainstream parties) gave you unilateral ceasefire and an atmosphere for talks, now it is up to you (resistance leadership). I request them that it is an opportunity, that you always say that military solution is no solution and only dialogue is the way forward to achieve a political solution. So, today you have an offer of dialogue,” she said.
“They (government of India) are saying come and talk to us. I think if J&K has to be taken out of this morass and difficult time, then all be it mainstream parties or separatists have to come forward and use this opportunity,” she said. Such an opportunity does not come every day, she said, adding I request all the leaders (resistance leadership) you are very tall leaders – but right now use this opportunity of talks to save J&K. Come forward and talk.
Mehbooba said the eyes of the whole India were on Kashmir and if the people here lose this opportunity, then no one will support or advocate for them tomorrow.
“The Home Minister of India is saying they want to embrace Kashmiris and are ready for talks. If we lose this opportunity, nobody will support us tomorrow, no one will advocate for us. The eyes of the whole country are on J&K and its leadership to see what they decide and how they try to save the people of Kashmir, especially its youth. If we have to save J&K, this is an opportunity for us,” Mehbooba said.
Amidst reports of more youth joining militant ranks, the chief minister said the increase in the militancy would only increase the footprints of the forces in the valley.
“The increase in the number of youth picking up guns will increase the presence of army, CRPF and the police here. The more the situation improves, the more we can tell Army, CRPF or police that your role is over and you reduce your footprints,” she said.
Referring to the spate of grenade attacks over the last few days, Mehbooba said gun or grenade attacks achieve nothing.
“Despite the unilateral ceasefire, there are grenade attacks. They do not see that civilians are getting killed, they do not see that army or CRPF personnel have come from far-flung areas for their bread and butter, what will this achieve?,” she said.
“There have been thousands of grenade attacks till now, thousands have picked up guns and become militants, but what has been achieved?”
We have achieved Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road, Poonch-Rawalkote road and if the situation improves, I promise you that we will re-open more such routes, she said.
The chief minister also batted for talks between India and Pakistan and condemned the ceasefire violations on the border.
“Till both the countries come closer, situation will not improve. J&K bears the maximum impact of the relationship between India and Pakistan. So, our party’s agenda is that they should talk to each other, she said.