Invoking Vajpayee, Mehbooba Mufti asks Modi to open dialogue with people of J&K


Facing a month-long turbulence and violence in the state, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to open a dialogue process with the people of the state.

Talking to reporters after a two-hour meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh, which was attended by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Mehbooba also hinted at resuming a dialogue with Pakistan on Kashmir issue saying the state could act as a “bridge” between the two nations.

“I believe there is a need to heal the wounds of people, to initiate dialogue with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

These are our own people. If process of dialogue with the people of Jammu and Kashmir can improve the situation in valley, we should do it,” she said and adding, her state could become a bridge between India and Pakistan.

“There is a need to apply balm to the wounds of Kashmiri people,” she said.

Mehbooba, who has been facing difficulties in restoring normalcy in the Valley following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani on July 8, said only the process of dialogue with the people of Kashmir can help improve the situation.

The Chief Minister said during the one month of unrest, which started after the killing of Wani, 55 people lost their lives and referred the deceased as “our own boys”.

“People will keep dying if we don’t take initiative to bring normalcy. We want peace. There is an opportunity for dialogue and we should avail it,” she said.

“We have seen agitations in the past like in 2008 (Amarnath land row) and 2010 (over fake encounters by army).

Our children have been killed. Our families have suffered. I don’t wish to see any more killing.

“Our Prime Minister has a huge mandate in the present Lok Sabha and he should seize the opportunity created by the unrest to win the hearts of the people and solve their problems, the way former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee did,” she said.

“I am hopeful that the Prime Minister will take this as an opportunity to initiate dialogue with people to address their problems.

There is a need to take the same initiative of winning hearts of people, which was taken during Vajpayee ji s tenure,” she said after the meeting which was also attended by National Security Advisor A K Doval and other senior officials of Home, Defence and Finance Ministries.

The meeting took place on a day when month-long curfew in Kashmir echoed in Parliament with Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad raising the matter during Zero Hour and demanding a statement from the Prime Minister about the steps being taken by the government for restoring normalcy.

“In such circumstances, we want to awaken the government … We feel the government and the Prime Minister are watching the situation deteriorate like a silent spectator,” he said, adding he wanted to know why Modi has not spoken on the grave situation in Kashmir so far.

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