Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, on Monday said that the “victims” of 2008 Amarnath land row or their kin would be paid ex-gratia and compensation on the likes of the 2016 unrest in the Kashmir Valley.
She also said that Article 370 of the Constitution will stay as it “secures Jammu and Kashmir’s pluralistic ethos”.
Ms. Mufti who was winding up the discussion on ‘Motion of Thanks’ on the Governor’s address in the State Legislative Council said that the people of Kashmir must be lauded for their “unique examples of this pluralistic ethos” exhibited during the unrest that followed the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahedin commander Burhan Wani in July last year. “It were the people of the Valley who in spite of curfew being in force came out of their homes to rescue the Amarnath pilgrims after they met with a road accident outside the highway town of Bijbehara,” she said and added that in another such example of showing care and love for the followers of other faiths by local Muslims was when they made arrangements for the marriage of a Kashmiri Pandit “while nobody could dare to venture out”.
The Chief Minister said a large number of those killed, blinded, injured or affected in any way during unrest in the Valley belonged to very poor families and many of them were orphans who had nobody to guide. As such the rehabilitation of their kin or these injured lies with the government, she said. “I announced setting up of Special Investigating Teams to probe these killing besides announcing the ex gratia”.
Ms. Mufti said on a similar pattern, victims of the 2008 Amarnath land row in the State would also be paid ex-gratia and other financial compensation. She said, similarly, the kin of Chamail Singh, a civilian from Paragwal area of Jammu province killed in Pakistan in 2013, would also be duly compensated. She said her government won’t differentiate on the basis of caste, creed or colour when it comes to the rehabilitation of its people.
The Chief Minister said only 138 persons are detained by police for questioning and 370 persons are booked under Public Safety Act (PSA) whose status is being reviewed on case to case basis. She said she has directed not to re arrest a person in whose favour the court has quashed the detention but take his parents into confidence while counseling him to shun the path of violence. She said her government would value the criticism and suggestions of the opposition so that the governance system is further fine tuned in a collective manner.
The Chief Minister asserted that strengthening of democratic system in Jammu and Kashmir holds key to the resolution of many issues of the State. She also maintained that Article 370 not only grants special status to the State but secures its pluralistic ethos as well. “To unbundle the knots of uncertainty we need to strengthen this democratic system”, she said appealing the members to rise above party lines and work to minimize the mistrust and discord between regions and people in the State. She added that the need of the hour is that Jammu and Kashmir remains united as a single entity so that it approaches the issues confronting it with singular attention and focus.
She further said that dialogue is a universally accepted mechanism to resolve disputes and issues and her government is keen to initiate political process in the State for which she asked all shades of opinion to help. She reiterated that friendly relations between India and Pakistan are in the best interests of the State. “We have to find the issues of common interest and common benefit between the two countries and move ahead”, she said. She hoped that relations between the two neighbouring countries would take a better turn in days to come.
Turning again to the special position of the State in the Indian Constitution, the Chief Minister said Article 370 is not any other entry in the rule book but it has to be understood in depth and with perspective. “It’s not only about securing the geography of Jammu and Kashmir alone but the pluralistic ethos and cultural diversity of the State as well”, she said and asked for further strengthening this position thereby further improving the relations between the State and the Centre.
Earlier in a written reply in the State Assembly, the Chief Minister said that hawala money was being used to fund terror activities and violence in the State and that 173 such cases have been registered in the state since 2001.
“As per reports from CID, hawala channels are being used to fund terror and violence in the state. Since 2001, 173 hawala cases have been registered. Challans were issued in 90 of these,” she said. She added that of the total, 45 cases are under investigation, while sanction is awaited in 23 cases. Nine cases were “untraced” and six not admitted....