Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Monday not every youth in Kashmir is a stone pelter and blamed national news channels for making the situation worse in the state that has witnessed a cycle of violence since last summer.
Mufti appealed to the national media to “stop spreading hate’’ through their debates and programmes where she said all Kashmiris are labelled as stone pelters and asked them to restraint from showing such programmes.
“By portraying every Kashmiri as a stone pelter you are creating hatred for Kashmiri people in the hearts of Indians across the country,’’ she said.
She was speaking to the media on the sidelines of the opening of the civil secretariat offices in summer capital Srinagar, after six months during which these offices function in the winter capital of Jammu.
Mehbooba said Jammu and Kashmir is the crown of the country and people of the region have the right to be in any part of the country.
“Our children have excelled in all fields and in competitive exams across the country be it the recent JEE exams or even the IAS (Indian Administrative Service). They are excelling in sports,’’ she said.
“Our children have the right to live and excel in any part of the country. They should go win over the rest of the country with their intelligence and hard work,’’ she added.
Mufti said that Kashmir had seen worse of times in the past and hoped the situation would improve. Accepting that situation in the state was not very conducive, Mehbooba however, insisted she has seen worse.
“When I came (to contest) for the first time in 1996, leave aside campaigning we couldn’t even step out of homes. This is a passing phase which won’t last,’’ she said while appealing for peace.
“Our youth is disillusioned and angry but a solution can be found for everything,’’ she added.
The valley has witnessed unprecedented demonstrations led by students, including women, who have been protesting against alleged security clampdowns on students in south Kashmir.
Student protests have become a new challenge for the administration in Kashmir where the law and order situation has gone downhill after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in July 2016.
On Monday, school students clashed with security forces during a protest march held in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district against the alleged high-handedness of security personnel, police said.
The recent bout of protests was triggered by a police raid on Government Degree College in Pulwama on April 15. Students, including girls, from schools and colleges, have participated in the protests in large numbers.
Authorities were forced to suspend classes in higher educational institutions for over a week last month as a precautionary measure and a number of students were arrested during clashes in Srinagar and elsewhere in the valley.