In a strong message to the separatists, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, on Wednesday (January 10), said that whatever the people of Jammu and Kashmir get will be from India and nowhere else. Referring to former Chief Minister Mufti Mohd Sayeed’s statement Mehbooba Mufti said he used to say, “whatever we have gained, whether it is the constitution of Jammu &Kashmir, separate State flag and residual powers, we have received them all from India. We should preserve it and if we are able to secure them and use them we can really become ‘crown (Taj) of India’. And if we will not respect it we will not get anything,” as per a report by The Indian Express.
She appealed to all shades of opinion (mainstream and outside the mainstream) to respect the Indian Constitution and shun the path of violence in order to restore peace and normalcy in the State. She quoted the recent example of the passage of GST Bill in the State Assembly to drive home her point of view. She said in the whole of India the GST Bill was made law in one go but in J&K it was cleared only after it was discussed and debated in the State Assembly. “What more empowerment we want,” she asserted, as per the report.
She also asserted that it was India alone that could address the issues facing the state. “I am alive to the situation for the past couple of years…the situation is limping back to normal but is still grave. I am not saying the situation has returned to normal,” the chief minister said. She added that the situation cannot be set right by the government alone and all stakeholders had to come together to set it right through the political process. “We cannot set it right through the use of police and security forces,” Mufti said in her reply to the motion of thanks to the Governor’s address in the state Legislative Assembly in Jammu, as per the report.
In an apparent reference to the repeated disruption of the House by opposition over killings of innocents and human rights violations, she said “the House has a genuine concern over the prevailing situation and primarily it should be because whether on borders or in the hinterland our people are getting killed, whether it is a fidayeen attack or an IED blast”. Expressing displeasure over the absence of Opposition members who boycotted her address over the law and order situation, she said this was a prolonged problem. “Jammu and Kashmir is faced with a situation where fidayeen attacks, IED blasts, cross firing and border firing is going on for a long time. I am pained when it is proudly said that we are constructing 14000 bunkers for border residents instead of ensuring good hospitals, good schools, job opportunities for youth and tourism initiatives.”
Terming dialogue as the only way ahead, the Chief Minister said the appointment of Dineshwar Sharma, with the rank of Cabinet Secretary, as interlocutor last year was a major decision to undertake sustained dialogue in the State. She hoped that people from different shades of opinion would join the consultation process initiated by Sharma and it moves ahead with positivity. She also welcomed the reports of the recent meeting of National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan and stated that she wishes normalisation of relations between the two countries adding that she wants the State to become a bridge of faith and trust between the two countries.