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Institutionalise talks, only Modi tenure can change situation, says Mehbooba

"Such persons should be involved in talks in whom the people of Kashmir can repose trust. They should have the faith that the views they give will reach somewhere," said Mehbooba.

Written by Anand Mishra | New Delhi |
August 28, 2016 3:30:40 am
Narendra Modi, Mehbooba Mufti, Narendra Modi Mehbooba Mufti, mufti modi kashmir meeting, kashmir unrest, kashmir, kashmir Valley, Jammu and Kashmir, india news Prime Minister Narendra Modi with CM of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti at a meeting in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI Photo

Meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the first time after nearly two months of unrest in the Valley, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Saturday sought a credible institutional mechanism to start talks with the people of Kashmir.

Emerging from the meeting, Mehbooba said, “If he (Prime Minister) says that talks will be held in Jammu and Kashmir with everybody, there should bean institution for it. Such persons should be involved in talks in whom the people of Kashmir can repose trust. They should have the faith that the views they give will reach somewhere.”

“Mufti sahab (her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed) always said Modiji has two-thirds majority. If the situation doesn’t change during his tenure, then it will never change. I am sure the Prime Minister will not forget to find a lasting solution to the Kashmir issue… Prime Minister, like all of us, is very concerned… wants this bloodshed to end,” she said, adding that “the UPA government ignored the situation” in the state.

A J&K government release said the Chief Minister outlined a three-pronged action plan before the Prime Minister for resolution of the Kashmir issue, including involvement of separatists and Pakistan in substantive dialogue.

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Her remarks come ahead of a planned visit to the Valley by an all-party delegation. Last week, The Indian Express reported that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had opened Track II talks on the Kashmir situation. By then, he had held two rounds of talks with “eminent citizens”, mostly non-Kashmiri Muslims, to discuss a plan of action and seek their help in initiating a dialogue with Kashmiris. Singh also spent two days in Srinagar earlier this week, holding talks with several delegations.

Also Read | Jammu & Kashmir: Governor may be replaced, Anil Baijal frontrunner

Mehbooba, while making an emotional appeal to give her a “chance” to end the bloodshed in the state, delivered a tough message to those behind the violence, saying talks can only be held with those who want peace.

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“Talks can be held only with those who want to talk. I feel those who are right now provoking youths to attack Army camps, police stations are not interested in talks. They want bloodshed… For them, it is a business, thriving on the trade of getting children killed, wounded. But those who want to talk, irrespective of believing in another ideology, should be approached with all seriousness.”

“You say that talks should be held with all. But it has to be decided by them (separatists) whether they want to talk. Today also, there was call to gherao an Army camp. How can things move that way? They will ask children to attack camps of security forces and police stations. You also know that killings will happen that way, no matter how much restraint security forces maintain… (separatists) should also help us save the lives of youths in Jammu and Kashmir. We should talk to all who want a peaceful resolution to the problem of Jammu and Kashmir.”

To questions on the arrest of separatist leaders, Mehbooba repeated what she had said earlier this week that only five per cent of the Valley people do not want dialogue and have been instigating children and the youth to stone security forces.

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On the curfew in the state, she said, “The basic purpose of imposing curfew was to save the lives of children… they will be provoked to attack camps and police stations. What do we do if we do not impose curfew?”

She conceded that much progress could not be made on the agenda of alliance between the BJP and PDP since they came together to form a government in the Valley.

“Unfortunately, due to certain developments for one year since our government was formed, the work on our agenda of alliance was not carried out in the manner it should have been done. Prime Minister has assured that it will be implemented. It has both political process and economic issues. I am hopeful that the state will come out of this bloodshed,” she said.

Indicating that some substantial process of dialogue could be in the offing, the Chief Minister said, “There is so much space in our democracy. In no other democracy, there will be so much freedom as is here. If Modiji wants, and he indeed wants (to solve the issue) at this time, I think not only this bloodshed will come to an end in Jammu and Kashmir but this issue (Kashmir) can be solved in the coming time.”

Becoming emotional, she said she had been in power only two months when trouble erupted. She appealed to all to “help” her resolve the issue. “As a mother, I am pained to see that children are being told to go out and stone police stations. Will stone-pelting solve the issue?… I appeal to all those protesting on the streets. You may be angry with me, I may be angry with you, but please give me one chance.”

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Recalling that efforts initiated during the first NDA government to resolve the Kashmir issue through reconciliation in the Valley and talks with Pakistan came to a halt during the UPA rule, she said, “I am hopeful that Modiji will not forget it.”

She said the situation in Kashmir has been bad since 2008. “The UPA government ignored the situation after the 2008 unrest. But Prime Minister Modi is trying to resolve the situation,” she said.

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She called for reviving the reconciliation and resolution process initiated by the Vajpayee government between 2002 and 2005. She said the intra and inter-state CBMs initiated during that time had helped transform the situation in the state and the region. “We shall have to pick up the threads from where we left in 2005 and revive the reconciliation and resolution process with fresh resolve,” she said.

She slammed the role of Pakistan, saying if it feels even the slightest pain for the people of Kashmir, it should not provoke them to attack security camps or police stations. “Pakistan has been openly trying to provoke and fuel tensions in the Valley,” she said.

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She said that after the Prime Minister and the Home Minister of India have visited Pakistan, it is now for that country to come forward and talk peace. “Pakistan also has to take a step forward in the interest of peace and stability in the region,” she said.

“They lost out on an opportunity for reconciliation when they mistreated our Home Minister Rajnath Singh who had visited Islamabad for the SAARC ministerial meeting,” she said, advising Islamabad to take a leaf out if its former President Pervez Musharraf’s Kashmir policy who was of the view that the UN resolution on Kashmir had no space in the present world.

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First published on: 28-08-2016 at 03:30:40 am
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