Mehbooba Mufti exposes the patrons of violence in Kashmir Valley
The Jammu & Kashmir CM insists the issue requires a political solution which cannot be achieved through terror.
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Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti came out all guns blazing, hitting out at those exploiting young children - using them as human shields, while targeting camps of the security forces in the Kashmir Valley.
The chief minister gave no quarter in an emotional outburst at her first press conference with the Union home minister Rajnath Singh in Srinagar. "Let us differentiate between those who want peaceful resolution through dialogue and those who are preparing youngsters to pelt stones", she said.
Mehbooba Mufti did not stop here. She went on to say 95 per cent of Kashmiris wanted a peaceful resolution. It is only 5 per cent that are resorting to terror and have hijacked the initiative. And the chief minister made it very clear that the 5 per cent would be dealt with accordingly by the law.
Mehbooba Mufti has reiterated the point that vested interests are misguiding the youth, especially those youngsters who are not from well-off families. Protesting youngsters are diverted towards military camps and used as human shields to target the security forces.
"Did they go to fetch milk at the police station or toffees or medicines at an army camp when they got hit by pellet guns?" she thundered.
This is the reality of the protests in Kashmir. Mobs are paid and diverted towards camps of the security forces. The charged mobs attack the security forces and as the second last resort, the forces use pellet guns and as the last resort, when weapons are being looted or government property set on fire - security forces are compelled to open fire, resulting in casualties and causing yet another cycle of violence.
However, Mehbooba Mufti has also clarified that she is against security forces breaking the law - as is alleged in the case of the unfortunate death of a lecturer. The army has ordered an inquiry, promising speedy action in case there was a violation of the law.J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti with Union home minister Rajnath Singh at a press conference on August 25. [Photo: Agencies]
Mehbooba Mufti also tore into the argument that, in government her current stance is diametrically opposite of that she took in 2010, when Omar Abdullah was the chief minister. In fact, both in Delhi and Srinagar, this point is being made that when in government, politicians in Kashmir have a different take on developments as compared to when they are in opposition.
Mufti claimed in 2010 there was reason for unrest - from the Machil fake encounter to the allegations of rape in Shopian. As for the current cycle of violence, Mehbooba Mufti she asserts there was no fake encounter - she insists three "militants" (terrorists) were killed in an encounter with the security forces.
The National Investigation Agency is probing a money trail to select bank accounts months prior to the unrest and systematic disbursement of funds in areas where violence occurred. The government is probing the persons who received the funds from Gulf countries and looking into the disbursement pattern.
Moreover, Mufti has torn apart the bogey of "spontaneous outburst of pent up fury". She insists the issue requires a political solution but not through terror, especially when children of the poor are being used as cannon fodder by vested interests.
In the past, she said vested interests were using terror as a means to target women and curtail education. She has also said that Afghanistan did not fall into the hands of the Taliban overnight. Neither did the situation worsen in Syria suddenly. Women were targeted systematically and education was stopped.
There are vested interests who are trying the same in the Kashmir Valley. They need to be checked before it is too late. The security forces have also made it very clear - the Burhan Wani encounter was based on genuine intelligence inputs and the cycle of violence was carefully planned by culprits subsequently.
There are stakeholders of peace in the Valley and in Delhi and there are stakeholders of violence - not just in the Valley and Delhi but also across the line of control in Pakistan.
It remains to be seen which ideology prevails.