Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today sought the wholehearted cooperation of the people in restoration of peace and normalcy in Kashmir to prevent further loss of precious lives and destruction of public and private properties.
She said the government is taking various measures to restore calm and it needs support of the people in this endeavor. “I appeal all sections of the society including the political leaders, media, the religious heads, the business community and the prominent citizens to rise to the occasion and help the government in restoring peace and normalcy in the Kashmir in the wake of the prevailing law and order situation,” the Chief Minister said while interacting with the representatives of various civil society groups and prominent citizens at her Private Office here today.
In around two-hour long marathon meeting, the Chief Minister apprised the civil society members of the initiatives being taken by the Government to restore peace and normalcy and also sought their suggestions on how to bring the things back on track.
Chief Minister said the police and the paramilitary forces have been asked to exercise maximum restrain to avoid loss of lives or grievous injuries. “My heart goes out to the families of the youth, including the civilians and the policemen, who lost their lives in the latest spate of violence. We have already lost a generation to bloodshed and violence, and can’t afford to live amidst prevailing political uncertainties with young boys getting killed every day,” she said.
She added that unfortunately some elements are hell bent upon fomenting trouble, mayhem and bloodshed in Kashmir for their vested interests and are playing with the lives of the innocent youth by instigating them to indulge in extreme violence resulting in a vicious cycle of frenzy and bloodshed.
The Chief Minister said while certain quarters are only interested in playing politics over the dead bodies of the youth, it is the family members of these slain youth who have to live with this pain forever. “Ironically, it is only the parents and other immediate family members of these ill-fated youth who have to live with the life-long trauma of losing their near and dear ones to this senseless violence,” she said added that there are hundreds of such families in Kashmir today who have lost their near and dear ones to the violence, one way or the other, and have been left at the mercy of the God.
“Most of these families are living in such miserable conditions that they have to even struggle for day-to-day living,” she said and added while hundreds and thousands of people may be attending the funerals of the slain youth, “tell me how many of these people then bother to visit these anguished families to help them out of difficult circumstances.”
The Chief Minister said the Government is, however, alive to the abject condition of such distressed families. “We will try to work out a mechanism to ensure a secure and dignified living for the kith and kin of the victims of violence so that their families don’t have to run from pillar to post to live a normal life,” she said and added that it is the responsibility of the Government to reach out to such families.
Saying that education and economy is the first casualty of the prevailing situation, the Chief Minister said the future of our children is at stake and they won’t be able to compete with their counterparts from other parts of the State and the country because of the loss of precious time. She appealed the parents not to allow anybody to play with the future of their children.
She said the deteriorating law and order situation has also set a huge blow to the local economy which had just started picking up the threads with the encouraging tourist arrivals. “The development process has also been hit and it will take some time to get the things back on rails,” she said and added that peace is, however, imperative to put the things in place once again.
The Chief Minister said imposing restrictions in prevailing circumstances has become an inevitability to avoid violent protests and consequent loss of precious human lives. “We prefer imposing restrictions rather than putting the lives of people at risk,” she said adding; “I appeal all the people to cooperate in restoration of peace for the sake of people of Kashmir and their well being.”
Referring to the problems of youth, the Chief Minister said; “They are angry and I can understand their anger. We are looking forward to a better future for them by exploring ways and means of providing them productive employment.” She said the problem of unemployment has critical dimensions in J&K as it has the potential of impeding the peace process if not seriously and urgently addressed. “The Government recognizes that there is a need to increase the economic space of the State, enhance its resource base and generate greater capacity of economy in various key sectors to meet the challenge of unemployment,” she said and added that tangible measures would be taken to address the concerns of the youth on account of unemployment.
The Chief Minister said the Ministers and other Government functionaries have been asked to reach out to the people and work with the local civil society groups for speedy restoration of peace and normalcy. She said the Ministers will remain stationed at the district headquarters to monitor the situation and reach out to the people. “They (Ministers) will also monitor the day to day situation personally and initiate measures for return of tranquilly in the respective areas in consultation with the local civil society groups and prominent citizens,” she said.
The Chief Minister hailed the people of the State for extending hospitality and all kinds help to the Amarnath Yatris and tourists, despite facing various hardships themselves. “I salute the people of Kashmir for upholding the highest traditions of communal harmony and hospitality in the prevailing situation,” she said.