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Mehbooba lauds country for support in Asifa case

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Urges New Delhi to wake up to Kashmir cauldron

‘Reconciliation has to begin today, for tomorrow may be too late!’

Srinagar, Apr 14: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday lauded the country’s political leadership, the judiciary, the media and the civil society for standing with the State government to ensure justice in the Kathua minor girl’s rape and murder.

She said the “unflinching resolve” for ensuring justice in this heinous crime would go a long way in restoring people’s confidence in the institutions and reinforcing the sense of justice in the state.

“The essence of India’s democracy lies in its robust institutions and it has been once again established that these institutions have the grit to ensure justice with all sections of the society cutting across the divide,” Mehbooba, who is also Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president said while addressing a meeting of the party legislators and leaders here.

The Chief Minister also commended the role of the people of Jammu for having discounted the divisive agenda of the “rabid fringe elements” and coming out with unwavering support for the little girl, said a party statement issued after the PDP’s meeting today.

“It has strengthened my belief that Jammu serves as a model of inclusiveness and together the people of J&K inspire secular unity and righteousness,” she said and added that this serves as a cue that the people of Jammu and Kashmir can hold a beacon of hope for the whole country amid harshly polarized discourse.

She said the way whole country came out seeking justice for innocent Asifa, has generated a new hope among the people in Jammu and Kashmir which needs to be built on to recreate an inclusive India.

“Intolerance and hate are hitting at the country’s core values and posing great threat to the pluralism, the only option for achieving the goals India has set out,” she said and added that India comprises a composite culture and no one has domination in it.

“We have to keep this civilization alive. If we get derailed, then we can’t achieve what we have set out to achieve,” she maintained.

According to the statement, stressing the urgency of responding to the challenges in Jammu and Kashmir through tangible political measures before the crisis degenerates into a catastrophe, Mehbooba said the people of J&K, irrespective of their age, gender, status or the political affiliation, have been suffering the disastrous consequences of the political uncertainties plaguing the state.

“Time has come to fully retrieve the people of the state from the morass, with their honor and dignity intact, through a series of Confidence Building Measures,” she said and added that the state’s youth need extraordinary attention as they have been particularly and enormously affected by the negative consequences of the conflict and economic deprivation.

Mehbooba said it is time for the entire political class of the country to take note of a great tragedy that has unfolded in Jammu and Kashmir.

“There is no scope for delaying any further a meaningful and bold response to what has now developed into a moral, political and humanitarian challenge for this billion-plus nation,” she said and added that more we delay the resolution the more it gets complex and painful.

She called for taking urgent, understanding and empathetic view of the prevailing situation in the State to put a permanent end to the repeated cycles of violence.

“Our youth are getting marooned in their own blood, leaving behind wailing mothers and tormented sisters; the future of our children is at stake, our education is getting ruined, our economy is being decimated and it is our collective responsibility to ponder over how to pull Kashmir out of this grim situation,” she said and added that even those who will be having differing political ideologies have to realize that violence can’t be a solution as it has brought and is only bringing destruction and miseries for the people.

Mehbooba said that at the same time the civil society and the people in Kashmir shall have to realize that while everybody wants a dignified solution of the problems confronting the State, we will have to together rise against the culture of senseless violence being played out with bloodletting which is not only devouring the lives of youth but destroying every sphere of life in Kashmir.

She said Kashmir has already seen almost a generation of youth falling prey to the repeated cycles of violence as the present situation in the State did not arise overnight.

“Kashmir cauldron has been simmering for long and it is the direct result of a callous attitude and apathy towards the basic political urges and aspirations of the people,” she said and added that the youth here gave enough indications of their anger and discontent over the past several years even while they several times gave a chance for democracy to play itself out.

“But unfortunately, signals were repeatedly ignored with the country’s political leadership having either run out of ideas or seems to have reached a dead-end,” she said and added that the democratic polity of India must respond to this challenge before the political and humanitarian crisis in Kashmir degenerates into a bigger chaos.

“There is enough political space and intellectual ingenuity in our system and I hope the country’s leadership cutting across the party barriers responds to this challenge and comes up with a political initiative that is purposeful, sincere, sustained and result-oriented,” she said and added that the governance initiatives in Jammu and Kashmir would be productive only when these are complemented by enabling political and economic measures aimed at addressing complex challenges confronting the State.

Mehbooba said while the ultimate solution to the momentous challenges confronting Jammu and Kashmir shall have to be worked out both on internal and external fronts through a sustained process of engagement.

“What is needed urgently in Kashmir is that elements of sanity, common sense and pragmatism shall have to be picked up in light of the global and sub-continental realities and make use of political and democratic means to voice our concerns.

“That the results are not difficult to achieve, was successfully illustrated by the post 2002 political history of the state when an elected government led by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed facilitated a series of Confidence Building Measures leading to a perceptible turnaround in the situation,” she said and added that the combination of political, developmental and diplomatic approach after 2002 elections changed the atmosphere in Jammu and Kashmir as well as the world around it almost unrecognizably.

She said the time has come to again start on the road to resolution and the process shall have to be clear of conditions.

“It will have to accommodate those voices also that don’t accept the status quo. It will have to steer clear of past mistakes. It will have to come over suspicions and mistrust. It will have to be today, for tomorrow may be too late,” she said.

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