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Engage with people of J&K: Mufti to Centre

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Says road to peace in subcontinent goes through Kashmir; gun no solution to any problem

Srinagar: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday asked the Centre not to shy away from engaging with the people of Jammu and Kashmir and take a considerate view of their wishes and aspirations.

“New Delhi should not shy away from engaging with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. I urge the government of India to take a considerate view of rights and aspirations of the people,” Mufti said at a party convention in Anantnag district.

The former chief minister reiterated that the road to peace in the subcontinent traverses through Kashmir, and dialogue and reconciliation are the only meaningful mechanisms to resolve the pending issues and catapult the region out of a vortex of misery and uncertainty.

“Many people are ill at ease when I advocate the restoration of our constitutional rights and speak for the resumption of the dialogue process. But since when has articulating legitimate demands of our people and seeking resolution for peace become a crime? If not the government of India, who else do the people of Jammu and Kashmir turn to,” Mufti asked.

Underlining the changing geopolitical scenario, Mehbooba Mufti expressed hope that the government will seize the opportunity awarded by the impending SAARC summit that is likely to provide a window of opportunity to pick up the threads of dialogue and peace process between India and Pakistan.

“Geopolitically, a lot has happened over the last couple of months. The country is meaningfully engaging with China and steps have been taken to strengthen the ceasefire mechanism with Pakistan,” she said.

“The SAARC summit could soon convene in Pakistan and I hope that the prime minister (Narendra Modi) participates in it. It could be the opportunity to revitalise the ties (between India and Pakistan) and jumpstart the peace process through dialogue. That is what the people of Jammu and Kashmir are yearning for,” Mufti said.

She said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan must hold dialogue like Atal Bihari Vajpayee held parleys with Parvaiz Musharaf for peace in the region.

Mufti also urged the people to keep their children away from taking to arms.

“Guns won’t solve any of our issues and by picking up guns we are being exposed everywhere and that is being given the name of terrorism,” she said, adding “please ask children not to take to gun because violence is not solution to any problem.”

Talking to the media later, she said that there is no alternative to holding the dialogue with youth of J&K as young people are picking guns and are being killed in encounters.

She said like India held dialogue with China and now ceasefire agreement with Pakistan has taken place, there is a need to take youth of Jammu and Kashmir into confidence to end violence here.

Mufti said that stones and guns won’t solve any issue and there is a need to take a cue from farmers’ protest, who without holding any gun or stone, got support from every corner of world for their demands.

“We must also take a peaceful way to get back our lost identity and solve Kashmir issue for which hundreds of people, including militants, security forces’ personnel and civilians have lost their lives so far,” she said.

“Our land and resources are being sold and we are being silenced and nobody is allowed to talk. Special status of J&K was our identity which was illegally snatched away, but the Parliament of India must restore it with dignity,” the PDP chief said.

Talking about the problems beseeching the people of south Kashmir, she said that it pains her to see that Srinagar-Anantnag road has been converted into a “highway of horror and humiliation”. She urged the authorities to put an end to curbs and humiliation that people are enduring while travelling along the road.

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