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Only PM Modi can solve problems in Kashmir, says CM Mehbooba Mufti

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Saturday Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the only hope to address the 70-year-old Kashmir issue.

india Updated: May 07, 2017 01:53 IST
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Hindustan Times, Jammu
Jammu and Kashmir,Mehbooba Mufti,Narendra Modi
File photo of Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.(PIB Handout/File Photo)

Only Prime Minister Narendra Modi can resolve the problems plaguing Kashmir, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Saturday as her government struggled to keep a lid on increasing violence and bitterness in the Valley.

Amid speculations of the Centre dismissing her administration and imposing Governor’s Rule in the state, Mehbooba threw her weight behind Modi and praised the PM for his surprise Christmas visit to Lahore two years ago.

“The prime minister of our country had been given a very strong mandate by the people. I am saying it again and I may be criticised for it but if there is someone, who could find solution to the problem of Jammu and Kashmir, it is Shri Narendra Modi ji and none else,” she told a gathering after inaugurating a flyover in Jammu.

“If Jammu and Kashmir has to be bailed out of this quagmire of violence and unrest, it is only the PM Modi ji who can help.”

A series of viral videos showing alleged human rights excesses – including a Kashmiri man tied to an army jeep – have ratcheted up the temperature in the Valley as hundreds of people have clashed with police. Nearly 100 people died in similar clashes and stone pelting last year following the death of top militant Burhan Wani.

Mehbooba met Modi in Delhi last month after the unending cycle of violence, stone-pelting and spike in attacks became a cause of “grave concern” for the central government.

The state government has been criticised for slow response to the growing local anger and many leaders of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party have expressed apprehension about a fast-eroding popular base because of the BJP tie-up.

But on Saturday, the 57-year-old CM backed Modi and said whatever he decided (on Kashmir), the entire country would support him.

“And, perhaps it was this courage and conviction of the PM that within an hour he went to Lahore and met Pakistani Prime Minister (Nawaz Sharif). His visit was a sign of courage and not weakness,” she said.

Mehbooba said how Modi’s predecessor Manmohan Singh, who was PM for 10 years, also may have had a desire to see his birth home in Pakistan.

“Visiting his home was perhaps an excuse. He, too, probably wanted to resolve issues and remove confrontation with Pakistan so as to bail the state out of unrest and violence. He, however, didn’t try,” she said.

She recalled how her father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and then PM Atal Behari Vajpayee tried their best to restore peace and normalcy in the state.

“In those three years Vajpayee Sahib ensured ceasefire on border, there were talks with deputy PM LK Advani ji, talks (with Pakistan) for opening border routes started, militancy was at its minimal in those three years and there was peace on borders. It was not an ordinary feat,” she said in an apparent hint to push for talks.

“Unfortunately Mufti Sahib left us and Vajpayee government is also not there and the situation is back to square one. Thereafter, successive governments in J&K and Centre, be it UPA in Delhi or in J&K, thought that everything was fine and there was no need to do anything. Subsequently, lava (among Kashmiri youth) kept simmering since 2008 and today we are facing its ramifications,” she said.

First Published: May 06, 2017 14:15 IST