Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti stood her ground on Sunday and turned down Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's request to her to attend the all-party meeting called Monday by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah over the violence in Jammu and Kashmir.
"It was very kind of the prime minister to call me. I have deep regard for the PM. He advised us to attend the meeting. But it was painful to convey my inability to attend the meeting," Mehbooba told reporters, a day after Manmohan Singh called her urging her to reconsider her refusal to attend the meeting.
She said the situation in the Kashmir Valley was "so bad that nothing at the level of the state government, that has been discredited, will help... unless there is a bigger initiative which will be taken seriously by the people who are caught in a prison like situation".
"I told the PM to excuse us. But we are looking forward to a bigger initiative from him," she said, but didn't elaborate.
She alleged that the Omar Abdullah government was trying to hide its "failures" by convening such a meeting after taking all the decisions that "he shouldn't have taken".
"They have used excessive force to suppress the anger. And he projects himself like the only nationalist (in Kashmir)."
The PDP chief said the meeting was a "damage control exercise" aimed to hoodwink the international community.
"I have requested the prime minister to intervene and put forward four points," she said, adding media curbs in the Valley should be lifted, the army should be recalled, and the crackdown launched by the state government should be put to an end.