Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today underscored the need for adopting a policy towards the state which is based on “humane values” and not security considerations alone, saying it deserved a “special place in the hearts and minds of people of the whole country”.
She also sought Confidence Building Measures (CBM) to be undertaken on the lines of those initiated in 2002.
The Chief Minister, who was interacting with civil society members in Baramulla, 54 kms from here in North Kashmir, said, “We need to reach out to the people in Jammu and Kashmir to address their concerns and aspirations and win their hearts and minds.” she said.
Mehbooba Mufti said the country’s policy on Jammu and Kashmir should not be based on strategic and security considerations alone but on ideological and humane values.
“If we were to base our J&K policy on the ideological values of democracy, rule of law and tolerance, which have been the defining strength of India, we will expand the constituency of peace at the micro level of individuals as well as institutions,” she said.
She called for confidence building measures like the ones undertaken in 2002 when her PDP had formed a coalition government with the Congress party. The PDP-Congress alliance government had started road connectivity between Kashmir and Pakistan occupied Kashmir and dialogue was initiated with the separatists and Pakistan when an NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee was at the Centre.
Denouncing violence in all its forms and manifestations, Mehbooba said resorting to violent means to achieve political objectives “is not only ineffective, but meaningless and destructive”.
Mehbooba said people must understand that by taking to violence, they are working against their own interests.
“Besides loss of precious human lives, violence destroys the very socio-economic fabric of a society, which is unfortunately happening in Kashmir,” she said in her address.
She said that while the separatists may be having their own ideologies, the present law and order situation seems to have been “exacerbated by some vested interests….having their own interests to take care of by perpetuating violence.”
The Chief Minister called for a collective effort to reach out to the people of state, especially the youth, to expand and consolidate the constituency of peace.
She claimed that there was a “larger design behind orchestrated eruptions to push Kashmiris into perpetual educational and economic deprivation and social disorder”.
“We have to mull over that how long it is going to be like this for the hapless people here,” she said.
Mehbooba, who has been struggling to restore law and order in the state which was plunged into turmoil following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8, said the issues can be resolved only through dialogue and not violence.
“Violence has been rejected globally as a means to achieve political objectives,” she said.
Calling for introspection, the Chief Minister said the people have to ponder over how the educational, economic and social structure of Kashmir is being systematically ruined because of the prevailing law and order situation.
“We have to see why such awful situations are being always triggered in Kashmir when the economic activity starts picking up as had happened this summer with encouraging tourist arrivals,” she said.
The proponents of violent protests in Kashmir must also engage in dialogue to resolve the issues instead of causing death and destruction to their own people, she said.
To achieve sustainable peace in the state and the region, “we have to unshackle the political thinking from the legacies of the past and have confidence in ourselves, our institutions and above all our people,” she said.