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Do what Vajpayee did to win hearts in Kashmir: Mehbooba to Modi


New Delhi: Pitching for an early start to a dialogue process with people of Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to seize the opportunity created by the unrest to “win the hearts” of the masses and solve their problems, the way Atal Bihari Vajpayee did.

Emerging from a two-hour meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh with whom she discussed the situation in the Valley, large parts of which have been under curfew for over a month now, Mehbooba told reporters that the Modi government had a huge mandate.

“I am hopeful that the Prime Minister will take this as an opportunity to initiate dialogue with people in Jammu and Kashmir to address their problems. There is a need to take the same initiative of winning hearts of people, which was taken during (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee ji’s tenure,” she told reporters here.

The meeting was called by Singh to review the situation in the state and Mehbooba was asked to participate in the meeting which was attended by Defence Minister Manohar Parikar, National Security Advisor A K Doval and other senior officials of Home, Defence and Finance ministries.

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

“I believe there is a need to heal the wounds of people, to initiate dialogue with the people of J&K. These are our own people. If process of dialogue with J&K people can improve the situation in valley, we should do it,” she said and added that 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. The meeting took place on a day when the issue of continued curfew in the valley 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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