Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has sought people’s support to put an end to the ongoing violence in the state that has so far killed 34 people and injured another 350 others. The spate of clashes began last Friday, when Burhan Wani, the Hizbul Mujahideen commander in J&K was killed by the security forces.
The Chief Minister appealed for calm and called for restraint. She appealed to the parents to rein in the angry youth, who are clashing with the forces as a mark of protest.
“The 27-year-long violence has left deep wounds in almost each home here and we have to jointly safeguard our state and our people from further bloodshed and destruction…While my government’s immediate priority would be to reach out to the affected families with a healing touch, in the long run a concerted effort shall have to be launched to make peace and stability a reality in J-K, with youth being the focus of the government’s welfare initiatives,” Mufti said in Srinagar.
“I seek people’s support in pulling J-K out of the vortex of violence and bloodshed…My heart is overwhelmed with great sadness and sorrow as a result of the killings in the latest spate of violence in Kashmir,” she added.
She also appealed the people not to fall prey to the machinations of those elements who want to disturb peace in the state.
“I think the biggest tribute to them would be to protect that peace and not fall prey to the machinations of those elements who want to disturb peace here,” she said.
The CM made the statement after paying homage to the martyrs of 1931 at the Martyrs graveyard in Khawaja Bazar area of downtown on Wednesday morning.
Mufti’s statement has been heavily criticised by NC leader and former CM Omar Abdullah.
Omar accused Mufti of “shamelessly” trying to convey message of normalcy in the state.
“Either the present government exhibited negligence in assessing the situation after Burhan’s killing or they did not prepare for the situation. Some reason out of the two is true that either their assessment was wrong or their preparations were not right. So, it is the responsibility of the government to restore normalcy,” Omar lashed out.
“I will not go into whether the situation is worse or not than 2008 or 2010. That is something you people have to decide. However, I feel that unfortunately, the lessons which we learnt in 2008 and 2010, the present government has forgotten them for some reasons,” Omar told reporters in Srinagar.
On Tuesday too, Mufti in a televised address said, “While certain quarters are only interested in playing politics over the dead bodies of the youth, it is the family members of these slain youth who have to live with this pain forever…Ironically, it is only the parents and other immediate family members of these ill-fated youth who have to live with the life-long trauma of losing their near and dear ones to this senseless violence.”
“Unfortunately some elements are hell bent upon fomenting trouble, mayhem and bloodshed in Kashmir for their vested interests and are playing with the lives of the innocent youth by instigating them to indulge in extreme violence resulting in a vicious cycle of frenzy and bloodshed,” Mufti had said.
On Tuesday, a concerned Mufti also met Governor NN Vohra to discuss the law-and-order situation in the Valley.
(With inputs from PTI)