Seeking people’s cooperation in shaping up a politically stable and economically emancipated Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today urged political leadership in the country to revive the peace and reconciliation process in the state through tangible Confidence Building Measures (CBMs).
“Perhaps more than ever before, people of Jammu and Kashmir today want the politicians to stand up and address the political and economic issues that matter to them and I urge the country’s political leadership to make a fresh start to revive the peace and reconciliation process in the state through tangible CBMs,” Mehbooba said while interacting with civil society representatives at Budgam in central Kashmir.
The Chief Minister called upon the country’s political leadership to take measures to address the causes of alienation and trust deficit among people in Kashmir and work towards finding a lasting solution to the problems plaguing the state and its people.
“All shades of political opinion in the state and the country shall have to evolve a consensus on a pragmatic and workable solution to the problems confronting Jammu and Kashmir in the interest of peace and stability in the state,” she said, adding, “the time has come to strike a new benchmark in light of the global and regional realities for the resolution of the state’s problems”.
She called for an end to the violent protests which have resulted in the “loss of precious human lives and grave injuries” and said “violence has neither served any purpose in the past, nor is it going to do so in future except bringing miseries to the people”.
“It is tragic to note that the victims belong to the poorest of the poor families and it is the parents of these slain youth who shall have to live with this trauma forever. Having played politics over the dead bodies of the youth, nobody is going to come and give solace to these families after some time,” she said.
Maintaining that her government is striving for a space of dignity and opportunity for the people of Jammu and Kashmir in a larger paradigm of peace and reconciliation in the region, Mehbooba said the political and developmental process and good governance have to go hand in hand to put the state back on track.
She said under the leadership of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, PDP came forward in 2002 to espouse the cause of dignified and peaceful resolution of the issues confronting the state at a time when there was despair all-round.
“The people of the state then suffered from a feeling of deep hopelessness, strong alienation, cynical aloofness and complete lack of faith in the democratic political process,” she said, adding being in touch with the ground realities PDP-led government at that crucial juncture came forward to articulate the aspirations of the people in a responsive and responsible manner and the results were there for all to see.
Mehbooba said the PDP-led government had at that time sparked political, economic and social activity on a phenomenal scale in Jammu and Kashmir facilitating complete transformation of the ground situation.
“Unfortunately, the lack of political direction after 2005 brought the situation back to square one resulting in fresh cynicism and alienation. The present drift in the situation is the result of the policy of healing touch which was put in place by the PDP-led government between 2002 and 2005,” she said.
“If we want the situation to stabilize, we will have to go back to the policy of reconciliation and winning the hearts and minds of the people of the state, sooner the better,” the Chief Minister said.
Calling for a collective effort to get the state back on the track, Mehbooba sought people’s cooperation, especially from the youth in her efforts to lead the state towards peace, political stability and progress.
“The youth have to be singled out as a target group deserving specific attention. The kind of a violent situation Jammu and Kashmir has gone through, over the past two decades, has deeply affected our society as a whole and our youth in particular,” she said.
“Young people have been particularly affected by the collapse of education and employment opportunities in the State,” Mehbooba said, adding the government would launch a process which will prepare young people to meet the challenges of future through a series of coordinated, progressive programmes and activities.
The Chief Minister said the government would have to consider new ways to involve youth and allow them to offer input during decision-making, problem solving, and action-taking activities.
“Active collaboration with youth will engage them in ways that will open doors for them to contribute,” she said, adding “it is ironic to note that while on one side our bright young boys and girls are making us proud by qualifying for prestigious competitive examinations and getting admission in reputed institutions, on the other hand some youth belonging to poorest of the poor families are being exploited and handed over stones instead of pen.”
Besides members of civil society groups, representatives of various religious and trade bodies were also present during the interaction, an official spokesman said.