Mehbooba Mufti meets PM Modi; asks for dialogue to achieve peace in Kashmir valley

NEW DELHI: While appealing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to follow the approach of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is what’s urgently needed as salve for Kashmir, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti also requested PM Modi to initiate a dialogue to contain the deteriorating situation in the valley.
In her crucial meet with the Prime Minister Modi at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg lasted for nearly 30 minutes, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said “at time when stone pelting and firing are on, talks are difficult, but the Prime Minister has invoked Vajpayee many times (and) there is a need to start building from what Vajpayee had achieved”
Mufti has urged the centre to begin talks with stakeholders in Kashmir, following Vajpayee’s famous commitment to “Insaniyat, Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat” as the framework for dialogue. But Mufti wants the Hurriyat – a group of separatist leaders – to be party to the talks, which the centre has not accepted so far.
Briefing reporters outside Prime minister Residence, she said, “The prime minister has an intention of holding talks after the situation becomes normal. And thread should be picked up from where Vajpayeeji had left off- an apparent suggestion for talks with separatists. “Talks with Hurriyat (Conference) had taken place when Vajpayee ji was the Prime Minister and L.K. Advani ji was the Deputy Prime Minister. We need to start from where Vajpayee ji left. Talks are the only way out,” she said.
Stressing on the need for talks as the only option, Mufti said that an atmosphere needs to be created for a dialogue by maintaining that confrontation cannot be continued for long. ‘Talks cannot happen amid stone pelting and firing of bullets,” she said. Mufti also apprised PM on the prevailing security situation in the valley, particularly in the increase in violence since the April 9 by-poll for the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency and “human shield’ episode by army.
During the meeting, both leaders discussed the escalating rift between the BJP and PDP state government after the PDP lost a seat in the recently held MLC polls when an independent MLA voted in favour of BJP candidate Vikram Randhawa, leading to his victory. She also raised the Indus water treaty issue, saying it was causing a huge loss of Rs 20,000 crore to the state.
Referring to the increase in stone-pelting incidents in the Valley, she said there were some young people who were “disillusioned” while some were being “instigated”, often through the use of social media sites such as Facebook and Whatsapp.
Later in the day, Mehbooba Mufti met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and discussed at length the prevailing security situation in the Valley. Singh is learnt to have emphasized during the meeting that the law and order being a State subject needs to be tackled effectively even as the Centre was willing to extend all support to contain the worsening situation. Singh is learnt to have expressed concern over the increased attrition of the security forces in 2016, targeting of the families of the police personnel and growing radicalization especially amongst the youths. Emerging from the meeting with Singh, Mehbooba said, “We want to improve the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. The next two-three months are very crucial…..situation will come under control.”

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