Mehbooba hopeful of separatists joining dialogue process

Mehbooba hopeful of separatists joining dialogue process

Still hopeful of separatist leaders joining dialogue process, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday said talks are the only means to sort out issues and end the culture of violence in the state.

In her message to the people on the eve of the 69th Republic Day, she expressed happiness that the Centre, agreeing to her suggestion, appointed Dineshwar Sharma as the interlocutor for the state.

"The appointment of Sharma as the interlocutor is a major development to ensure durable peace in the state rather than a temporary measure to calm down tempers as happened in the past," Mehbooba said.

Expressing concern about the situation along the borders in the state, the chief minister hoped that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, using his stature and wisdom, would pace up his efforts in this regard, so that the state becomes a bridge of peace between the two countries, ending the bitter phase of acrimony between them.

Noting with satisfaction that fascination for violence is declining among the youth, Mehbooba said parents, friends and even social media are playing their role in dissuading them from slipping into a path where death and destruction are the only end results.

She said though all over the world the ill effects of violence are fairly pronounced now, the people of the state have been the immediate witnesses and victims of violence.

Terming peace imperative for executing developmental and welfare initiatives of her government, the chief minister sought support from people in this regard.

"If peace prevails, developmental and welfare measures can take off, tourists can come, investment can happen and also new political initiatives can materialise," she said in her message.

Outlining the achievements of her government, Mehbooba said soon after her taking over, she had promised a review of the cases registered against stone pelters from 2008.

"As things cooled, I started the process and ordered the withdrawal of cases registered from 2008 to 2014 against 4,327 youths," she said.

"Subsequently, I ordered the withdrawal of cases registered from 2015 to 2017 against 4,740 totalling to the withdrawal of cases against more than 9,700 youths so far," she added.

Mehbooba said continuing with her "healing touch" she sanctioned cash relief and offered jobs to the pellet victims who lost their vision during the unrest of 2016.

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