‘Dialogue an opportunity to save J-K’: Mehbooba Mufti to separatists

Deccan Chronicle.  | Yusuf Jameel

Nation, Current Affairs

She said that conditional ceasefire and offer of talks made by the Centre was a opportunity to separatists to stop bloodshed in the State.

J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti interacts with her supporters at a rally, in Srinagar on Sunday. (Photo: PTI)

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, on Sunday urged separatists and all other shades of political opinion in the restive State to come forward and respond positively to the Centre’s dialogue officer.

“All political parties and other shades of political opinion ought to play their role in getting people of the State out of the unending cycle of violence. The government at the Centre has said that it is ready to hold talks with all including Pakistan and separatists to find out lasting solution to the imbroglio peacefully,” she said.

She made a fervent appeal to separatists and others to seize the opportunity asserting that the people of the State particularly the youth are suffering enormously due to turmoil and there is urgency of coming to their rescue by joining the dialogue process. “We all need to give them a safe, secure and peaceful future,” she said while speaking at a convention of her Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) here.

Referring to the All-Party meet convened by her in Srinagar last month, the Chief Minister said that the idea behind it was to find ways and means to get the State out of the difficult situation it has been caught due to unending violence. “We at the meet decided to ask the government at the Centre to declare ceasefire during the holy month of Ramzan. Our request was conceded and with that we made beginning. Now the onus to take it forward lies on all other political parties. They need to contribute positively towards this peace project,” she said.

She said that conditional ceasefire and offer of talks made by the Centre was a golden opportunity to separatists to stop bloodshed in the State. “There are other parties which are not in the mainstream, and if they have some other agenda, they have an opportunity now if they want to stop bloodshed. We always say that there has to be a political solution to the problem of Kashmir and the Army, CRPF or police cannot resolve it. It can only be resolved politically thorough dialogue. And when there is an offer of dialogue from the Centre, I request all stake holders to come forward to save J&K and its economy”, she said.

Ms. Mufti wanted the political parties and other stakeholders to ponder over “No matter on which side of the divide youth get killed, the ultimate loss is of the State and its people.” She said, “We all have to put our heads together and play a positive role towards putting an end to this loss. If this opportunity is lost, there will be nobody left there tomorrow to plead our case.”

The Chief Minister also said that good neighbourly relations between India and Pakistan are in the best interest of the people of J&K as these have direct bearing on them. “When they fight it is the people of the State particularly those living in close proximity to the border who suffer. When even arch rivals North Korea and South Korea can meet to resolve why can’t India and Pakistan,?”, she asked. 

Separatist leader and Kashmir's chief Muslim cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had earlier on Saturday said the incidents in which Kashmiri youth have been killed or injured in the use of force by security forces do not augur well for the Centre’s reported plan to hold dialogue with separatist leadership and Pakistan.

“Nobody is against (holding) dialogue. We also favour resolution of all issues through peaceful talks. But you need to create atmosphere conducive for such an engagement,” he said adding that the killing of Srinagar youth after he was over ran by a CRPF vehicle on Friday and other incident of violence and reprisals involving the Army and other security forces reported from various parts of the Valley during past few days will not be any helpful.

While speaking to this newspaper, the Mirwaiz said, “Before you wish to hold talks you need to create a favourable atmosphere for it. Today Kashmiri youth are being targeted with bullets and pellets and now you have started killing them by running your vehicles over them. Talks can be held but only when you change the policy of using military might to suppress the voice of people in Jammu and Kashmir.”