Mehbooba Mufti says use of force alone can't set situation right in Jammu and Kashmir, urges stakeholders to hold talks

Jammu: Under Opposition fire over the government's "tough posturing", Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Wednesday that even though the situation cannot be set right by the use of police and security forces alone, things were improving in the state.

She also asserted that it was India alone that could address the issues facing the state.

"I am alive to the situation for the past couple of years...the situation is limping back to normal but is still grave. I am not saying the situation has returned to normal," the chief minister said.

She added that the situation cannot be set right by the government alone and all stakeholders had to come together to set it right through the political process.

"We cannot set it right through the use of police and security forces," Mufti said in her reply to the motion of thanks to the Governor's address in the state legislative Assembly in Jammu.

She said it was only India that can address the issues facing the people of the state.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti speaks during the  Budget Session at J & K legislative assembly in Jammu on Wednesday. PTI

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti speaks during the Budget Session at J & K legislative assembly in Jammu on Wednesday. PTI

"The people of Jammu and Kashmir, whether in mainstream or outside, should understand that whatever we will get, we will get it from this country alone and not from anywhere else...Honorable position, life with dignity, opening of (cross-LoC) routes, taking trade to another level, or ending bloodshed to start dialogue. This will not be done by any other country but our own," she said.

Apparently referring to the repeated disruption of the House by opposition over killings of innocents and human rights violations, she said "the House has a genuine concern over the prevailing situation and primarily it should be because whether on borders or in the hinterland our people are getting killed, whether it is a fidayeen attack or an IED blast".

"We should be concerned and the entire house is concerned over the situation," she said adding that when there is an attempt to disturb peace, other issues take a back seat.

Mufti said the Jammu and Kashmir state legislature was the most empowered in the country but added "we have to safeguard its status to become truly the crown of this country".

GST was passed in the country but we passed it after discussion and implemented when we decided, she said. It demonstrates the empowerment of our legislature, Mufti said.

"(Former chief minister) Mufti Mohammad Sayeed used to say that the state has got from the country its own constitution, separate flag and residency powers. We have to safeguard it as this is big treasure," she said.

"If we will say we do not accept the Constitution of the state and the country then what we will get and from where," she added.

The people of the country need to think what was the reason for the present situation, she added.

"We, including the people of the country, need to think what happened after Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim majority state rejected religious partition and became part of the biggest and secular nation. I have heard that Jawaharlal Nehru having said that Jammu and Kashmir will be a showcase window for the whole world to gaze at. We have to think where the mistake happened," she said.

Mahatma Gandhi had seen a ray of hope in Kashmir because of the peaceful atmosphere and harmony, she said. "Where that light has gone?" she asked.

Expressing displeasure over the absence of Opposition members who boycotted her address over the law and order situation, she said this was a prolonged problem.

"Jammu and Kashmir is faced with a situation where fidayeen attacks, IED blasts, cross firing and border firing is going on for a long time. I am pained when it is proudly said that we are constructing 14000 bunkers for border residents instead of ensuring good hospitals, good schools, job opportunities for youth and tourism initiatives."

"Our people (on the borders) are afraid and frightened. We will construct bunkers for their safety but I want to ask the people of my country what about the education of our children who got dislocated and are living in rehabilitation camps for the past six months," she said.

She said National Conference president Farooq Abdullah had repeated what her father used to say that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has the potential to address the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

"The problem (of Kashmir) is there but its solution lies in humanity. When anyone is getting killed or martyred, he is a resident of the state, except those being pushed from across the border," she said.

"I am talking about our civilians. Yesterday our youth was killed and earlier such incidents happened in Shopian, Handwara, where a driver was killed," she added.

She listed the work her government was doing to improve the conditions of the people. "We have launched various welfare schemes but because the discourse is something else, so many people are killed in attacks, our good work and major initiatives could not be projected," she said.

She said the government had money but was not able to spend it because of the situation. "Big contractors are not willing to come here and local contractors do not qualify for major projects," she said.

She said the alliance stitched (with the BJP) by her father and former chief minister has resulted in harmony and brotherhood.

"It is heartening to see the bells of temples, call for prayers from mosques and prayers from gurdwaras vibrate in the air as was once the case in Kashmir," she said.

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Updated Date: Jan 11, 2018 09:33:16 IST

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