Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday hit out at separatists for not participating in the dialogue process initiated by the government of India’s “special representative” Dineshwar Sharma.
“The government is making very serious efforts to address grievances of people in Jammu and Kashmir, but it cannot force anybody to talk,” the chief minister said, while replying to the discussion in the legislative council on motion of thanks on the governor’s address.
Without naming anyone, the chief minister said: “For dialogue, the government appointed an interlocutor and gave him the rank of a cabinet secretary. The interlocutor himself stated that he is ready to knock anyone’s door for talks but on other hand, there is no response from them (separatists).”
“It’s not new; a parliamentary committee headed by home minister and finance minister came to Srinagar in 2016, when very senior leaders went to meet them, but some people shut their doors,” she said, referring to September 2016 when separatists rejected Indian parliamentarians’ offer for talks.
“Same is the case with the interlocutor. Three months have passed but there is no response from the other side. We are in favor of talks but someone has to come forward for talks,” the chief minister said.
“I remember when IK Gujral, the then prime minister, said ‘I am ready to talk with Hurriyat’ and in Jammu and Kashmir assembly, the then chief minister (Farooq Abdullah) said ‘I will be the first person to raise a banner of revolt against government of India if talks happen’. But we don’t say anything like this. We are with dialogue process and want talks with everyone but they should also show some positive signs,” Mehbooba said.
ON NEW YOUTH JOINING MILITANCY
The chief minister said that many legislators have expressed concern over fresh requirements in militancy.
“Whether it’s National Conference, Congress or Bharatiya Janata Party, all political parties have sacrificed a lot to revive the political process in Jammu and Kashmir,” she said, adding: “Our responsibility is more than that of others, to bring peace and make an atmosphere of trust. We are trying to bring them (local militants) back to mainstream.”
“We involved their parents and I am happy that children are coming back. We don’t call them to police stations, they directly go to homes and resume their life without any legal hassles,” she said, and hoped that a PhD scholar from Kupwara, who recently joined the militant ranks, will come back soon because his parents and friends are making passionate appeals to him.
ON SPECIAL STATUS
The chief minister said that Jammu and Kashmir is a “unique state” with its own legislative powers and there is a need to protect it for the larger benefit of the state.
“Being the only state having a special status, we have our own constitution, own powers, own flag and if we protect these properly, it’s a very big thing for the state and its people,” she said.
Terming the Indian constitution as “mother of Jammu and Kashmir” constitution, she said: “Whatever we got is from this (Indian) constitution only. It has all humbleness to give away, whatever would be the circumstances; we have to work under Indian constitution only.”
The chief minister said that the government is willing to eradicate corruption, but it is helpless before courts.
“We suspended 50 to 60 employees last year, but unfortunately they were reinstated by courts,” the chief minister said.
“There were reports of private practice by doctors in SKIMS Srinagar. They don’t see patients in the hospital but their private clinics remain open from dawn to dusk. They even recommend medicine from specific shops. This is all corruption but when we took action against the director, under whose vigil all this was happening, he got a stay order from a court,” the chief minister said.
“When we don’t take action, then court directs us to act, but when we take action, people go to same court and get a stay order against us. This is a big challenge for us to fight corruption,” she said.
Mehbooba said that the need of the hour is to get the state out of the “vicious cycle of violence.”