Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday hit out at the separatists for “spoiling” the youth of the Kashmir Valley and termed as an “insult” to ‘Kashmiriyat’ their action of shutting the door on members of the all-party delegation of MPs that explored ways to restore peace in the troubled state.
By spurning talks, she said, the separatist leaders were not facilitating resolution of the problem but stalling the process for finding lasting peace.
“We have lost several opportunities in the past to resolve the issue through engagement and dialogue and today again if we miss the chance, the coming generations will never forgive us for our intransigence,” the Chief Minister told the gathering at a function for formal launch of UJALA scheme in Kashmir under which LED bulbs will be supplied.
The event was organized by Union Power Ministry, the state’s Power Development Department and Energy Efficiency Services Limited a joint-venture of PSUs under the Ministry of Power.
Referring to the separatists’ decision to not talk to the visiting all-party delegation, Mehbooba said it was “an insult to Kashmiriyat, to us”.
She said an opportunity has presented itself for addressing the Kashmir issue as the country has a strong Prime Minister in Narendra Modi who has called for an end to the violence.
“Today, there is an opportunity as there is a very strong Prime Minister in this country. Today, in this situation, the cream of the country, members of the Parliament, came to you (as part of all-party delegation) and many among them said that they want to talk without any conditions,” she said.
Mehbooba said the Prime Minister went to Pakistan, then Pathankot happened, the Home Minister (Rajnath Singh) went there in bad times, but he was given the same treatment which was meted out to the visiting MPs who had come to our (separatists) door.
“It does not insult our guests, it insults us because it shows our moral standards,” she said, adding her government would continue its endeavour for peace.
“It has not happened till now that a sitting Chief Minister, as president of the party, writes a letter and requests (for talks) this way but I did it because there is pain within. As I travelled to most of the places in the Valley, children were out on roads with stones in their hands instead of going to schools or colleges.
“Why? Is it their doing? It is the doing of the (separatists) leaders,” she said.
She wondered how the separatists could roam from one home to another asking children and young people to come out when their own were studying abroad or outside the state.
“My colleagues have this (fear) that I may say something. But, I have always spoken truth. The way a mother slaps her child when he tries to touch a hot kangri (firepot), I will do the same to save my people. I will be angry, I will speak truth and warn them not to use children as a shield,” an emotional Mehbooba said.