Chairing a top security meet in Srinagar on Tuesday, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti called for immediate de-escalation of the “alarming” situation along the borders to end miseries of people.
At the meeting of Unified Headquarters (UHQ), comprising top officials of the army, BSF, CRPF, state police and intelligence agencies besides the civil administration, the chief minister was briefed about wide-ranging issues including the emerging security scenario in Kashmir valley, situation along the borders and steps taken to address issues arising out of cross-border shelling.
“Ways and means shall have to be explored immediately to bring an end to the sufferings of the hapless people subjected to immense miseries over the past few months because of the continuous cross-border shelling and escalation of violence in the State and the region,” she said at the meeting.
She said the “hostile” and “alarming” situation along the borders and LoC should keep reminding both India and Pakistan of the inevitability of sitting across the table to find a just and pragmatic solution of all the contentious issues.
Mehbooba, who also condemned today’s terror attack on police training academy in Pakistan’s Quetta, said the vicious cycle of death and destruction confronting the region must end at the earliest.
“Whatever (be) the reasons for hardening of stances and attempts by the vested interests to subvert the peace process, there is, however, no substitute to the reconciliatory policy as was done in 2003,” she said.
Serious efforts should be made at the political and civil society levels to revive the peace and reconciliation process for the larger good of the people sandwiched in a gory situation, she said.
Condoling the death of a six-year old boy in cross-border firing in R S Pura sector of Jammu on Monday, Mehbooba said, “My heart goes out to the families who lost their loved ones in the fresh violence, both along the borders and at the Police Academy in Quetta, in which they had no role to play.”
She said the senseless violence is the common enemy of the people in both India and Pakistan as the scourge of bloodshed has devoured their lives.
She reiterated her government’s stand that only coordinated political effort at the highest levels in New Delhi and Islamabad will eliminate the menace of violence and usher the region into an era of peace and prosperity.
Making a fervent appeal for peace on the borders, Mehbooba said the cross-border shelling has seen a humanitarian crisis unfolding in the region with people fleeing their homes and scurrying for safety of their lives.
“This disquieting scenario has to end to facilitate the people live peacefully in their homes and hearths,” she said while noting that people in Jammu and Kashmir have always been the worst sufferers in such hostile situations.
She recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent statement wherein he called on Pakistan to jointly wage a war against poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and infant mortality.
“It is high time that both the countries come together without any further delay and start a final war against violence, terrorism and the social and economic deprivation plaguing the region,” she said.
With a decisive mandate at his back, Modi has the process of reconciliation in the sub-continent and emerge as a man of peace in the region, the J&K chief minister said.
She said the prevailing challenging situation along the borders in Jammu and Kashmir necessitates the urgency of reviving the composite dialogue process, sooner the better.
“We in Jammu and Kashmir understand better what the ordeal of violence is, as it has been our fate to live through and survive its frightening hazards,” Mehbooba said.
She expressed the hope that “the dark shadows of pessimism cast over the peace process will not jeopardize the region’s security and stability as any such scenario would have disastrous and colossal consequences for the people living in the region.”
For the people of Jammu & Kashmir, peace along the borders and within the mainland is of immense significance and “I hope the political leadership of the two countries treats it with the same spirit,” she added.
She called for a political dialogue within the state for the resolution of the internal dimensions of the problem.
She also urged upon the security agencies to conduct their operations keeping in view the safety of the people.
She stressed the need for following a humane approach while dealing with law-and-order situations on ground.
While asking the security agencies to exercise maximum restraint, the chief minister asked them to avoid any civilian casualties and damage to private and public property.
Expressing shock over recent reports of various school buildings being gutted in mysterious fire incidents, Mehbooba said it is a loss to the entire society.
She asked the police to investigate these fire incidents and maintain vigil to prevent such unfortunate events.
The Chief Minister instructed the security forces that rather than static deployment, focus should be on area security.
She urged the police and security forces to hand-hold the misadvised youth who have joined militancy or are indulging in violence, with compassion, and help them bring back to the mainstream through persuasive influence.
Mehbooba also directed that training and skill development programmes should be organized for such youth by way of sustainable livelihood support.
With regard to situation along the borders, she directed Divisional Commissioner and IGP Jammu to ensure safety and security of the life and property of the border residents.
The chief minister called for enhanced vigil and asked the administration to provide shelter and all basic facilities to the people displaced at the time.
Underlining the need for ameliorating the sufferings of the people, Mehbooba said the civil administration, with active support of police and other agencies, should try to resolve problems of common masses.