Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday at his 7 Race Course Road residence to discuss the ongoing crisis in the state. This is the first time Mehbooba has met PM Modi after unrest broke out in the Valley last month. Nearly 70 people have been killed in clashes with security forces since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8.
Addressing the media after the meeting, Mehbooba said the Prime Minister wanted an end to the cycle of violence in Kashmir. “Like all of us, Prime Minister Modi is very concerned with the situation in Jammu and Kashmir,” she said. Adding that her father always spoke of PM Modi’s majority in the Lok Sabha, she continued, “Mufti sahab always said Modi ji has two-thirds majority. If the situation doesn’t change during his tenure, then it will never change.”
Targeting Pakistan for inciting violence in the Valley, Mehbooba said, “If Pakistan has sympathy for Kashmiri youth, they shouldn’t provoke them to attack security camps or police stations.” She also said since PM Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh took the initiative by visiting Lahore, Pakistan must take a step forward now.
“They lost out on an opportunity for reconciliation when they mistreated our Home Minister Rajnath Singh who had visited Islamabad for the SAARC ministerial meeting,” 57-year-old chief minister said.
“Every political party wants the bloodshed in Kashmir to end. But talks can happen with only those who are open for dialogue. The ones who provoke youth and are with a different ideology, talks cannot happen with them,” she said.
Underlining the fact that she has just been in power for the last two months, Mehbooba asked the people to help her solve the crisis. “People of Kashmir dream to live with dignity. Give me a chance to fix things instead of inciting further violence. It hasn’t even been two months since I came to power and there has been such a big crisis,” she said.
The Chief Minister has been under fire after the BJP-led Centre made it clear that law and order was a state subject. Both BJP and PDP are alliance partners in the state. On Thursday, Mehbooba had defended the action of security forces claiming that 95 per cent of people were keen on resolving the Kashmir issue through dialogue. She also added that only five percent of the people were resorting to protests.
“The situation in Kashmir has to be improved. The focus of our government, government of India or all parties in the country should be the 95 per cent of population… they don’t want to pelt stones, they don’t want to indulge in violence, they don’t want to attack the establishment to fulfil any aim,” she said in a press conference held jointly with Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Srinagar. Singh had met various representative of civil society, political parties and state cabinet ministers.
Earlier this week, PM Modi had a meeting with a delegation of opposition parties from Jammu and Kashmir led by former chief minister Omar Abdullah. The Prime Minister had expressed his “deep concern and pain” over the situation in the Valley and asked all political parties to work together to find a “permanent and lasting” solution to problems in the state. He had also made an appeal for restoration of normalcy in the Valley and emphasised that there has to be a dialogue.