JAMMU, AUGUST 22: Chief Minister, Ms Mehbooba Mufti today called for reaching out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir through substantive political and economic measures to address anger and alienation and find a lasting solution to the problems confronting the State.
“The prevailing painful situation in Kashmir necessitates reaching out to all shades of the political opinion in the State and initiating substantive political and economic measures to revive and consolidate the peace and resolution process,” the Chief Minister said while addressing a public gathering after inaugurating the State’s biggest Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) at Bhagwati Nagar here.
Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Kumar Singh, Member Parliament, Jugal Kishore Sharma, Vice-Chairman, SC Board, Bushan Dogra and Legislators, Sat Sharma, Anjum Fazili and Surinder Ambardar were also present on the occasion.
The Chief Minister said that the political leadership in New Delhi and within the State must jointly work towards initiating the confidence building measures to respond to the people’s innermost yearning for peace with dignity. “The renewed trust people of the State have time and again reposed in the democratic institutions, offers an opportunity to work through peaceful and reconciliatory means towards addressing all the dimensions of the Kashmir issue in a manner that balances and promotes enduring political and economic stability in the State,” she said and added that her Government visualizes a space of dignity, opportunity and prosperity for the peace-loving people of Jammu & Kashmir.
Maintaining that violence in any form only brings miseries to the people and is not a means to seek resolution of problems, Ms Mehbooba reiterated that solution can only be found through democratic and political means involving engagement and dialogue. “Time has come for the State’s political leadership, cutting across the divide, to work towards retrieving the people of Jammu & Kashmir, with honor and dignity, from the political uncertainties they are engulfed in for the past seven decades,” she said and added that neither the stones nor the guns either in hands of the militants or the in the hands of security forces would enable a peaceful solution of the Kashmir problem.
Ms Mehbooba said the people of the State, irrespective of their age, gender, status or the political affiliation, have been suffering the disastrous consequences of the turmoil and they have to be retrieved from this quagmire, sooner the better. She said at the same time, the people shall also have to give peace and reconciliation process a chance to take shape as had happened between 2002 and 2003. “Our children are today getting killed or maimed, our social fabric is slipping into disorder, economy is in shambles, educational sector has suffered immensely, tourism inflow is zero, shopkeepers are not able to do business, industrial units are shut, development process has come to a halt and people are feeling suffocated. We shall have to ponder over how long we are going to allow this self destruction to continue?” she said adding; “We shall have to reinforce our resolve to work through peaceful means and through public participation towards resolution of the problems and restoration of peace in the State.”
Urging the Centre not to see all Kashmiris through the security prism, the Chief Minister said; “I want to make an appeal to the Centre that do not see all the people of Kashmir with same eye.” She said Kashmiris are peace loving people and they don’t like violence. “They (Kashmiris) are not stone-pelters, they are peace loving people. They want to open their shops, they want to send their wards to school, they want to come out of the fear-psychosis they have been forced into,” she said adding; “I appeal to the Centre to take care of those majority of the peace-loving people in Kashmir and reach out to them. They are our own people and they are in problem.”
Ms Mehbooba said in tune with her party’s ‘Agenda of Alliance’ with the BJP, several inter and intra-state confidence building measures were under discussion at various levels, which were to be implemented in a phased manner. “Whether it is opening of more cross-LoC points for movement of people and goods including Suchetgarh-Sialkote Road, Kargil-Skardu road and Nowshera-Jhangadh road or expanding the scope and ambit of cross-LoC trade, various measures were in the pipeline, various CBMs were being discussed for implementation,” she said and added that before there could have been tangible movement forward on these CBMs, Kashmir valley was, unfortunately, put on fire by the vested interests who don’t want the peace and stability to take shape in the State and the region.
The Chief Minister said three militants were killed in a gun battle and it was nothing new as encounters and killing of militants was going on in Kashmir since the eruption of militancy in early nineties. “But section of people got an opportunity to rake up the issue and put peaceful Kashmir on boil,” she said and added that it was tragic to note that not only have got scores of youth killed in this senseless violence but it has also forced thousands of people to flee Kashmir to safeguard the future of their children.
Making it clear that majority of the people in all the regions of the State want to live in peace and harmony, the Chief Minister said that despite attempts being made by certain quarters to vitiate the atmosphere on communal lines, the people both in Kashmir and Jammu didn’t allow the nefarious designs of such disruptive elements to take shape. “I hail the people of all the regions for not allowing the situation to be communalised by such diabolic elements,” she said and sought cooperation of people in maintaining peace and normalcy in the State.