Mehbooba asks Hurriyat to accept centre’s dialogue offer

Exhorting Hurriyat to seize the “golden opportunity” by accepting the Centre’s offer of dialogue, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today said everyone believes the situation in the state is a political issue that cannot be resolved militarily.

She said the dialogue offer made by the Centre after initiating the Ramazan ceasefire hinted at initiation of a political process.

“I feel that somewhere efforts are being made to carry forward the political process. How far can the political process be taken, that will depend on how good the situation remains on the ground here,” she said.

Speaking to reporters after inaugurating a bridge here, the chief minister said, “For ending the uncertainty and providing lasting peace in Jammu and Kashmir, everyone including the separatists should come forward and respond to the Home Minister’s offer of dialogue to resolve Jammu and Kashmir issue and other problems of the state.”

During a two-day visit to the state last week to review the security situation and the ongoing suspension of security-related operations during Ramazan, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said here that the Centre is ready to hold talks with all “right-minded” people in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan, but the neighbouring country should stop terror activities emanating from its soil.

The Chief Minister said everyone believed that Jammu and Kashmir is a political issue which cannot be resolved militarily.

“This is a golden opportunity … it does not happen very often that (such an offer comes from) a very powerful Prime Minister. It was 18 years ago that cessation of operations happened during the time of (the then Prime Minister) A B Vajpayee. At that time, talks were held at the level of deputy PM (L K Advani) and the process seems to have been repeated again,” she said.

Mufti said it was duty of all groups in the state to think about how to bring about peace and end the bloodshed.

“It becomes a duty of all groups including Hurriyat to think about how to end the bloodshed in J-K which has undergone destruction in every sector for the last 30 years. Our education system has suffered, our development has suffered.”

Talking about the bridge which she inaugurated, the chief minister said it was to be completed in two years but it took three years.

“We are not able to do the development works which we want to undertake due to the situation,” she said.

The chief minister said, “We cannot force anyone but we definitely hope that they (Hurriyat) will take advantage of this offer.”

Asked about the possibility of the Center extending the unilateral suspension of operations beyond the fasting month of Ramzan, she evaded a direct reply saying the Prime Minister and the Home Minister will Review the situation and take a decision on it.

“I am fully hopeful that the Prime Minister and the Home Minister after reviewing the situation will take an appropriate decision on it,” she said.

The PDP leader, who heads a state government in alliance with the BJP, said the common people have heaved a sigh of relief due to the suspension of operations during Ramazan. “The daily blood shedding has stopped and it has had a positive effect”.

She, however, lamented that continued violence by militants during the Ramazan month was not helping the situation in the state.

“As you see grenade attacks are taking place, weapon snatching bids are happening and security forces and police personnel are being attacked. These kind of acts deteriorate the atmosphere,” she said.

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