Srinagar: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday appealed to “all stakeholders” to come forward and join the dialogue offered by the Indian government. “For ending the uncertainty and providing lasting peace in Jammu and Kashmir, everyone including the separatists should come forward and respond to the Home Minister’s offer of dialogue to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir issue and other problems of the state,” she said.
Interacting with media persons on the sidelines of the inauguration of Mehjoor Bridge here, the Chief Minister asked all stakeholders to play their role in ending the cycle of violence and ensuring a durable and dignified peace.
Exhorting separatists to seize the “golden opportunity” of the Centre’s dialogue offer, she said that everyone believes the situation cannot be resolved militarily. “This is a golden opportunity … it does not happen very often that (such an offer comes from) a very powerful prime minister. It was 18 years ago that cessation of operations happened during the time of (then Prime Minister) AB Vajpayee. At that time, talks were held at the level of deputy PM (LK Advani) and the process seems to have been repeated again,” she said.
“I feel that somewhere efforts are being made to carry forward the political process. How far the political process can be taken will depend on how good the situation remains on the ground here,” she said.
Chief Minister Mufti said that the dialogue offer by the Union Home Minister had come in the backdrop of New Delhi’s decision to suspend security operations in the state, which she said had created a “conducive atmosphere” for peace and dialogue. She appealed to people to “guard this positivity generated on the ground”.
“It becomes a duty of all groups including separatists to think about how to end the bloodshed in JK which has led to destruction in every sector for the past 30 years. Our education system has suffered, our development has suffered,” she said.
Talking about the bridge which she inaugurated, the chief minister said it was to be completed in two years but it took three years.
“We are not able to do the development works which we want to undertake due to the situation,” she said.
“We cannot force anyone but we definitely hope that they (separatists) will take advantage of this offer,” she said.
Asked about the possibility of the Centre extending the suspension of operations beyond Ramazan, she evaded a direct reply, saying the Prime Minister and the Home Minister will take a decision on it.
“I am fully hopeful that the Prime Minister and the Home Minister after reviewing the situation will take an appropriate decision on it,” she said.
Mufti said the common people have heaved a sigh of relief due to the suspension of operations during Ramazan. “The daily blood shedding has stopped and it has had a positive effect,” she said.
She lamented that continued violence by militants was not helping the situation. “As you see, grenade attacks are taking place, weapon-snatching bids are happening, security forces and police personnel are being attacked. These kinds of acts deteriorate the atmosphere,” she said.
—PTI and Information Dept