Mehbooba for unconditional talks to resolve Kashmir issue

Mehbooba for unconditional talks to resolve Kashmir issue

CM visits Kraloo to offer personal condolences to Mashooq’s family

‘Putting reconciliation, resolution process back on track need of the hour’; Says productive, inclusive engagement only way forward

ANANTNAG, SEPTEMBER 03: Reiterating the urgency of initiating unconditional dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister, Ms Mehbooba Mufti today called for engaging all sections of the society in a credible and meaningful political process for the resolution of the issue.

“The country’s political leadership must, without any further delay, reach out and engage all sections of the society including the leaders of the Hurriyat Conference in a productive dialogue process to resolve the issue and make peace a reality in Jammu and Kashmir,” the Chief Minister said while interacting with the people at the remote village of Kraloo in Kund area of district Kulgam where she had gone to offer personal condolences to the bereaved family of Mashooq Ahmad Sheikh who was killed in security forces firing last month.

The Chief Minister said it is perhaps for the first time that the Kashmir issue has been, during the past two months, discussed in so many forums and at so many levels including the Parliament and at the All Party Meetings where judicious views were put across by all shades of the country’s political opinion on how to end the stalemate. “The need of the hour is to build on this larger political consensus within the country and initiate tangible measures to address the issue,” she said and added that during her meeting with the Prime Minister last month she suggested a three-pronged approach including talks with all sections of society within J&K including the separatist leadership and also with Pakistan to put the reconciliation and resolution process back on track. She expressed the hope that the upcoming visit of the All Party Delegation to the State will facilitate revival of the much-needed peace and resolution process in and around Jammu and Kashmir.

The Chief Minister said that the people of the State have given the present Government the mandate to voice their urges and aspirations and seek resolution of the problems by involving all the stakeholders in a productive dialogue process. “The same has been reiterated in the Government’s ‘Agenda of Alliance’ wherein it has been made clear that the State Government will create conditions to facilitate resolution of all issues and will help initiate a sustained and meaningful dialogue with all the stakeholders, including all political groups in J&K irrespective of their ideological views and predilections to build a broad based consensus on resolution of all outstanding issues of J&K,” she said.

Referring to the Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi’s latest statement that the seeds of the current unrest in Kashmir were sown during Independence and a ‘solution to the problem will be found’, Ms Mehbooba said the prevailing situation in Kashmir presents not just a challenge, but also an opportunity to the Prime Minister to take some bold measures towards resolution of the issue and make India more at peace not only with its neighbors, but also with itself.

Stressing the need for revival of the peace, reconciliation and confidence building initiatives, both on internal and external fronts, which she said had worked so well between 2002 and 2005, Ms Mehbooba averred that the present situation in Kashmir calls for every right thinking party, group or individual to rise to the occasion and strive for finding ways and avenues for the restoration of peace and resolution of the problem. “To end the stalemate and rein in the vicious cycle of violence, the doors for purposeful, constructive and unconditional dialogue need to be opened,” she said and added that those having different political ideologies also need to realize that the issues can be resolved only through dialogue and not through violence. “Even after wars and major conflicts around the world, the issues have been ultimately resolved through dialogue and same stands true for Jammu and Kashmir,” she maintained.

The Chief Minister said that right from early nineties, people in Jammu and Kashmir have been living through bloodshed, pain, suffering and miseries and there has to be an end to this trail of death and destruction. “Right now Kashmir is again embroiled in a burning situation and we have hope that all sides will pick up elements of sanity and pragmatism and strike a new benchmark towards the resolution of the problem in light of the global and sub-continental realities,” she said adding; “While the separatist leadership shall also have to take a step forward, the Centre on its part shall have to put off the fire on internal discontent. We have to apply a healing touch to the agonizing situation and address the causes of alienation, especially among the youth.”

Maintaining that the people of the State have always responded positively to the initiatives in improving the security situation, Ms Mehbooba said the fact that the people of Jammu and Kashmir are the biggest custodians of its interests has to be recognized to completely end the atmosphere of trust deficit. “We have to work with compassion and through a humanitarian approach to reach out to and support the families who have lost their near and dear ones to the violence in prevailing situation and support them in living a dignified life,” she said and added that the Government won’t be seen wanting in this endeavor as most of the victims of the current unrest belong to the poorest of the poor families.

Stating that the people in Kashmir have to pay huge costs during recurrent unrests by way of losing precious lives, facing colossal economic losses, educational deprivation and social erosion, the Chief Minister said that the pain of Kashmiris has reached a level, where the hope for a peaceful resolution of their problems is sure to get substantial support and “we should not allow this opportunity to be lost, especially when all the political parties in the country are on board for a permanent solution.”

Former Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Deputy Commissioner, Kulgam and other officers of the district administration accompanied the Chief Minister.

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