In what appeared as a contradiction to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s statement that unilateral ceasefire and dialogue are the solutions to protect the state from “bloodshed”, Deputy CM Kavinder Gupta on Sunday said India will give a befitting reply to Pakistan “if bullets come from their side”.
“Pakistan is a cowardly nation which cannot be trusted. We condemn repeated ceasefire violation by them. We had said that we will not shoot a bullet but will give a befitting reply if bullets come from their side,” Gupta was quoted as saying by ANI.
The deputy CM’s remarks came hours after CM Mufti called for talks between India and Pakistan to prevent any further bloodshed in the state. “Till both the countries come closer, situation will not improve. J&K bears the maximum impact of the relationship between India and Pakistan. So, our party’s agenda is that they should talk to each other,” she said while addressing a convention of her Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Mufti also said that ceasefire and talks also offered an opportunity to separatists to stop bloodshed in the militancy-hit state. “The people of Kashmir and the leadership here have to decide on the opportunity provided by the Centre in terms of unilateral ceasefire, which stopped the bloodshed here, and then the readiness for dialogue, how we benefit from it,” she said.
“There are other parties who are not in the mainstream and if they have some other agenda, they have an opportunity now if they want to stop bloodshed in the state. We always say that there has to be a political solution to Jammu and Kashmir and the army or CRPF or police cannot resolve it,” she continued and urged all stakeholders to come forth to save the state and its economy.
While the Centre announced unilateral ceasefire for the holy month of Ramadhan, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh recently said the Centre was ready to talk to separatists in the valley if they are willing for a dialogue.
Urging separatists to come forward for talks, the CM said there is a need to bring the Kashmiri youth out from the stone and gun culture. “We cannot force you or give you a dictation but can only request. Even a day before yesterday, a youth got killed after he came under a vehicle during stone pelting. He was an orphan why take to stone-pelting? Why not give them a way out from this morass, from stone or gun culture,” she said.
“The Home Minister of this country is saying they want to embrace Kashmiris and are ready for talks. If we lose this opportunity, nobody will support us tomorrow, no one will advocate for us. The eyes of the whole country are on J&K and its leadership to see what they decide and how they try to save the people of Kashmir, especially its youth. If we have to save J&K, this is an opportunity for us,” Mehbooba added.