Come forward for talks to save Kashmir, Mehbooba tells separatists

Come forward for talks to save Kashmir, Mehbooba tells separatists

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti addresses a party worker's rally, in Srinagar, on Sunday. PTI

Terming the unilateral ceasefire and offer of dialogue by the Centre as an opportunity that does not come every day, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday appealed separatists to come forward for talks to save the state from further bloodshed.

“We, mainstream parties, gave you (separatists) unilateral ceasefire and an atmosphere for talks, now it is up to you. Today you (separatists) have an offer of dialogue and if this opportunity is lost, tomorrow there would be nobody left to plead our case” she said while addressing a convention of ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), here.

“We cannot force you (separatists) or give you a dictation, but can only request. Only a day before yesterday, a youth got killed after he came under a vehicle during stone-pelting. He was an orphan but why take to stone-pelting? Why not give them a way out from this morass, from stone or gun culture,” Mehbooba said.

The Chief Minister said they always say there has to be a political solution to Jammu and Kashmir and the army or CRPF or police cannot resolve it.

“It can only be resolved politically thorough dialogue. And when there is an offer of dialogue from the Centre, I request all stake holders to come forward to save Jammu and Kashmir and its economy,” she said.

Mehbooba also sought an end to Indo-Pak hostilities on borders saying when north and south Korea can become friends after seven decades ‘why can’t India and Pakistan?’

“Like (PDP chief spokesperson) Mehboob Beigh sahib here said, north and south Korea have become friends after 70 years for the sake of people. But here shelling still goes on borders. People on that side are dying and people on this side are also dying. Till the two countries (India and Pakistan) don’t come close, situation won’t improve,” she said.

The Chief Minister said the situation in Kashmir tells on the relationship between India and Pakistan. “That is why we want talks here and with them,” she said.

On the trend of local youths joining militancy she said, “The increase in the number of youths picking up the gun will increase the presence of security forces. More the situation improves, the more we can ask them (Army), to reduce their footprints (in Kashmir)." 

 She condemned the recent grenade attacks by militants in the Valley, saying: “Despite ceasefire, there are grenade attacks. They (militants) do not see that civilians are getting killed. They do not see that Army or CRPF jawans have come from far flung areas for their bread and butter. What will this achieve?”