Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday sought the cooperation of people in restoring peace and normalcy in Kashmir and regretted that “some elements” were bent on fomenting trouble and mayhem for their vested interests.
She said the government is taking various measures to restore calm and appealed to the people for support following the massive clashes in the valley over the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani, a poster boy of militancy in the state.
“I appeal to all sections of the society including political leaders, media, the religious heads, the business community and the prominent citizens to rise to the occasion and help the government in restoring peace and normalcy in Kashmir in the wake of the prevailing law and order situation,” the Chief Minister said, interacting with the representatives of various civil society groups and prominent citizens at her private office here.
In an around two-hour meeting, Mehbooba Mufti apprised the civil society members of the initiatives being taken by her government to restore peace and normalcy and also sought their suggestions on how to bring things back on track.
The Chief Minister said the police and paramilitary forces have been asked to exercise maximum restraint to avoid loss of lives or grievous injuries.
“My heart goes out to the families of the youth, including the civilians and the policemen, who lost their lives in the latest spate of violence. We have already lost a generation to bloodshed and violence, and cannot afford to live amidst prevailing political uncertainties with young boys getting killed every day,” she said.
The fierce clashes in the valley between protestors and security forces have claimed the lives of more than 20 people.
The Chief Minister regretted that “Unfortunately some elements are hell bent upon fomenting trouble, mayhem and bloodshed in Kashmir for their vested interests and are playing with the lives of the innocent youth by instigating them to indulge in extreme violence resulting in a vicious cycle of frenzy and bloodshed.”
She said while certain quarters are only interested in playing politics over the dead bodies of the youth, it is the family members of these slain youth who have to live with this pain forever.
“Ironically, it is only the parents and other immediate family members of these ill-fated youth who have to live with the life-long trauma of losing their near and dear ones to this senseless violence,” she said, adding that there are hundreds of such families in Kashmir today who have lost their near and dear ones to the violence, one way or the other, and have been left at the mercy of God.
“Most of these families are living in such miserable conditions that they have to even struggle for day-to-day living,” she said.
She said while hundreds and thousands of people may be attending the funerals of the slain youth, “tell me how many of these people then bother to visit these anguished families to help them out of difficult circumstances?”
She said the government is, however, alive to the abject condition of such distressed families.
Mehbooba Mufti said education and economy are the first casualties of the prevailing situation and appealed to parents not to allow anybody to play with the future of their children.
She said the deteriorating law and order situation has also dealt a huge blow to the local economy, which had just started picking up with encouraging tourist arrivals.
The Chief Minister said imposing restrictions under the prevailing circumstances has become an inevitability to avoid violent protests and consequent loss of human lives.
She said the problem of unemployment has critical dimensions in J&K as it has the potential of impeding the peace process if not seriously and urgently addressed.
The Chief Minister said the ministers and other government functionaries have been asked to reach out to the people and work with the local civil society groups for speedy restoration of peace and normalcy.
She said the ministers will remain stationed at the district headquarters to monitor the situation and reach out to the people.
The Chief Minister hailed the people of the state for extending hospitality and help to the Amarnath Yatris and tourists, despite facing various hardships themselves.