Explore all ways to de-escalate border tension: Mehbooba

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Expressing grief and anguish over the loss of precious human lives in fresh spate of cross-border shelling in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti today called for immediate de-escalation of the situation along the borders to put an end to the miseries of the people.
The Chief Minister also condemned the killing of scores of police cadets in a terror attack on a Police Training Academy in Quetta, Pakistan.
“Ways and means shall have to be explored immediately to bring an end to the sufferings of the hapless people subjected to immense miseries over the past few months because of the continuous cross-border shelling and escalation of violence in the State and the region,” the Chief Minister while presiding over a meeting of the Unified Headquarters (UHQ) at SKICC here today.
Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh and top brass of Civil administration, Army, Police, BSF, CRPF, Central and State Intelligence Agencies were present at the meeting.
During the meeting, the Chief Minister was briefed about wide-ranging issues including the emerging security scenario in Kashmir valley, situation along the borders and steps taken to address issues arising out of cross-border shelling.
The Chief Minister said the vicious cycle of death and destruction confronting the region must end at the earliest and serious efforts should be made at the political and civil society levels to revive the peace and reconciliation process for the larger good of the people sandwiched in a gory situation.
Expressing her heartfelt condolences at the killing of a 6-year old boy in cross-border firing in R S Pura sector of Jammu, the Chief Minister said; “My heart goes out to the families who lost their loved ones in the fresh violence, both along the borders and at the Police Academy in Quetta, in which they had no role to play.”
Making a fervent appeal for maintaining peace on the borders, Mehbooba said the cross-border shelling has seen a humanitarian crisis unfolding in the region with people fleeing their homes and scurrying for safety of their lives. “This disquieting scenario has to end to facilitate the people live peacefully in their homes and hearths,” she said and added that people in Jammu and Kashmir have always been the worst sufferers in such hostile situations. She said the hostile and alarming situation along the borders and LoC should keep reminding the two countries of the inevitability of sitting across the table to find a just and pragmatic solution of all the contentious issues.
The Chief Minister recalled Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s recent statement wherein he called on Pakistan to jointly wage a war against poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and infant mortality. She said it is high time that both the countries come together without any further delay and start a final war against violence, terrorism and the social and economic deprivation plaguing the region.
The Chief Minister said whatever the reasons for hardening of stances and attempts by the vested interests to subvert the peace process, there is, however, no substitute to the reconciliatory policy as was done in 2003. “With a decisive mandate at his back Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi has the opportunity to revive the process of reconciliation in the sub-continent and emerge as a man of peace in the region,” she said and added that the prevailing challenging situation along the borders in Jammu and Kashmir necessitates the urgency of reviving the composite dialogue process, sooner the better.
Addressing the meeting, the Chief Minister urged upon the security agencies to conduct their operations keeping in view the safety of the people. She stressed the need for following a humane approach while dealing with law-and-order situations on ground.
While asking the security agencies to exercise maximum restraint, the Chief Minister asked them to avoid any civilian casualties and damage to private and public property.
The Chief Minister instructed the security forces that rather than static deployment, focus should be on area security. She urged the police and security forces to hand-hold the misadvised youth who have joined militancy or are indulging in violence, with compassion, and help them bring back to the mainstream through persuasive influence. She also directed that training and skill development programmes should be organized for such youth by way of sustainable livelihood support.
With regard to situation along the borders, the Chief Minister directed Divisional Commissioner and IGP Jammu to ensure safety and security of the life and property of the border residents. The Chief Minister called for enhanced vigil and asked the administration to provide shelter and all basic facilities to the people displaced at the time
Underlining the need for ameliorating the sufferings of the people, Mehbooba said that the civil administration should try to resolve problems of common masses. She also asked them that in view of the fruit harvesting season, the concerned authorities should ensure safe transportation arrangements for the horticulture produce to markets in and outside the state.
The Chief Minister directed the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir to restart work on important developmental projects like National Highway, fly-over, repairing and maintenance of roads and other projects which were affected due to the turmoil.

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