Srinagar: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti broke down as she discussed the situation in Kashmir with political parties in Srinagar on Thursday, requesting them to use their “good offices” to ensure that the crisis is resolved.
“I request all of you, please use your good offices…we have to address this issue. We should talk…about opening routes, talks with Pakistan. Also other issues with the government of India,” said Ms Mufti, whose People’s Democratic Party or PDP is a partner of the BJP, which leads the NDA government at the Centre.
Opposition National Conference boycotted the meeting. “Our working president Omar Abdullah had asked the Chief Minister to take steps for normalization of the situation. But it took her two weeks to respond and call for an all-party meeting. It’s now too late. Many people have been killed and injured” said senior party leaders Nasir Aslam.
Soon after the five-hour long meeting, the chief minister visited south Kashmir’s Anantnag, the epicentre of deadly clashes between demonstrators and security forces amid protests over the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani earlier this month. 45 people have died and over 2000 have been injured in over two weeks of unrest.
In her first public outreach since the protests and clashes began, the chief minister met and offered condolences to families of people killed in firing by security forces.
At the meeting in Srinagar, she detailed her tour and also talked about the many people, including young children, who have lost vision because of injuries from pellets fired by security forces to keep violent crowds in check, an issue also discussed in Parliament during a debate on the Kashmir crisis.
“Over 30 people, including children, have lost one eye and at least three people have lost both their eyes,” the chief minister said.
During her tour of Anantnag, the Chief Minister said it was unfortunate that while “certain quarters are only interested in playing politics over the dead bodies of the youth, it is the family members of these youths who have to live with the pain forever.”
She promised that the government would “try to work out a mechanism to ensure a secure and dignified living for the kith and kin of the victims of violence so that their families don’t have to run from pillar to post to live a normal life.”