Mehbooba seeks PM's help to end violence in Kashmir


Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to find ways to end the cycle of violence in the state by addressing the element of alienation among youth.

Mehbooba, who called on the Prime Minister in New Delhi, apprised him about the overall situation in Kashmir, in the wake of recent turbulence triggered by the killing of 13 local militants and five civilians as security forces stepped up counterinsurgency operations.

The chief minister told Modi that people of J&K have suffered immensely for the past three decades and were looking up to the country's political leadership to support them in getting out of this cycle of uncertainty and deaths.

Reiterating her demand for peaceful engagement with all stakeholders in this regard, the chief minister sought more frequent meetings at the highest levels between India and Pakistan.

She also favoured the idea that the two Army commands be in touch with each other to minimise the level of tension across the borders in the state which has affected lakhs of people living in these areas.

During the meeting, Mehbooba, whose PDP is running an alliance government with the BJP in the state, also pleaded for taking the cross-LoC movement to next higher level by working on opening more historic routes across the LoC and movement of more people to build public confidence in the peaceful engagements.

She also called for the opening of Sharda Peth, an ancient seat of learning across the LoC, and developing it like Nalanda and Takshila.

An official spokesperson said during the meeting implementation of 'Agenda of Alliance (AoA)', execution of PM Development Package and other developmental projects in the state also came up for discussion.

Later in the day, Mehbooba called on Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and underscored the need for adopting a humane approach while dealing with the situations and avoiding collateral damage during security operations in Kashmir.

Every civilian killing or collateral damage, Mehbooba told Sitharaman, puts the peaceful engagement efforts of the government on the back burner and gives the vested elements an opportunity to exploit the situation to their advantage.

Both the chief minister and the defence minister agreed on sticking to a professional approach to deal with the situations to win back hearts and minds of people.

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