Srinagar, Jun 11: Exhorting separatists to seize the “golden opportunity” by accepting the Centre’s offer of dialogue, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Monday said everyone believes the situation in the state is a political issue that cannot be resolved militarily.
She said the dialogue offer made by the Centre after initiating the Ramadan ceasefire hinted at initiation of a political process.
“I feel that somewhere efforts are being made to carry forward the political process. How far can the political process be taken, that will depend on how good the situation remains on the ground here,” she said.
Speaking to reporters after inaugurating a bridge here, the chief minister said, “For ending the uncertainty and providing lasting peace in Jammu and Kashmir, everyone including the separatists should come forward and respond to the Home Minister’s offer of dialogue to resolve Jammu and Kashmir issue and other problems of the state.”
During a two-day visit to the state last week to review the security situation and the ongoing suspension of security-related operations during Ramadan, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said here that the Centre is ready to hold talks with all “right-minded” people in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan, but the neighbouring country should stop militant activities emanating from its soil.
The Chief Minister said everyone believed that Jammu and Kashmir is a political issue which cannot be resolved militarily.
“This is a golden opportunity…it does not happen very often that (such an offer comes from) a very powerful Prime Minister. It was 18 years ago that cessation of operations happened during the time of (the then Prime Minister) A B Vajpayee. At that time, talks were held at the level of deputy PM (L K Advani) and the process seems to have been repeated again,” she said.
Mufti said it was duty of all groups in the state to think about how to bring about peace and end the bloodshed.
“It becomes a duty of all groups including separatists to think about how to end the bloodshed in J-K which has undergone destruction in every sector for the last 30 years. Our education system has suffered, our development has suffered.”
Talking about the bridge which she inaugurated, the chief minister said it was to be completed in two years but it took three years.
“We are not able to do the development works which we want to undertake due to the situation,” she said.
The chief minister said, “We cannot force anyone but we definitely hope that they (separatists) will take advantage of this offer.”
Asked about the possibility of the Centre extending the unilateral suspension of operations beyond the fasting month of Ramadan, she evaded a direct reply saying the Prime Minister and the Home Minister will review the situation and take a decision on it.
“I am fully hopeful that the Prime Minister and the Home Minister after reviewing the situation will take an appropriate decision on it,” she said.
The PDP leader, who heads a state government in alliance with the BJP, said the common people have heaved a sigh of relief due to the suspension of operations during Ramadan. “The daily blood shedding has stopped and it has had a positive effect”.
She, however, lamented that continued violence by militants during the Ramadan month was not helping the situation in the state.
“As you see grenade attacks are taking place, weapon snatching bids are happening and security forces and police personnel are being attacked. These kinds of acts deteriorate the atmosphere,” she said.
Amit Shah calls for urgent meeting of Jammu and Kashmir BJP ministers in Delhi today
BJP president Amit Shah has called for an urgent meeting of all Jammu and Kashmir BJP ministers and some top leaders in New Delhi on Tuesday. “All the BJP ministers have been called to New Delhi for a meeting,” a senior BJP leader of Jammu and Kashmir BJP told PTI.
Shah has called the meeting to discuss the political situation in the state — including the impact of suspension of operations during Ramzan and its resumption. The report further added that Shah might also discuss the future strategy with ally PDP and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
BJP ministers in the Mehbooba Mufti government, including state unit president Ravindra Raina, party vice-president and incharge of Jammu and Kashmir Avinash Rai Khanna, and state unit office bearers, will participate in the meeting at the party headquarters, The Economic Times report said. Party General secretary (Organisation) Asho Kaul has also been called for the meeting.
However, other reports claimed that suspending operations along the border area has miffed the PDP leadership and the rift is showing once again as the Centre wants to resume anti-terror operations in the state after Ramzan. While PDP thinks BJP leaders should make headway with the separatists and initiate dialogue with them, the BJP-led central government says that the separatists lost an opportunity as they did not take a cue from civil society, sources have told NDTV.
The Centre decided to suspend anti-terror operations during the holy month “in view of providing respite to the people”, however, NDTV reported that data showed the terror activities had more than doubled in this period.
As terrorist activities continued even after the announcement of a month-long suspension of anti-terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre on Sunday decided not to extend its unilateral initiative, declared on 16 May to coincide with the holy month, evoking dismay among people in the state.
“All political issues related to the state are on the agenda. The meeting will not only discuss the 2019 Lok Sabha preparation but also the recent suspension of operations and its impact, relations with allies and other issues,” a senior BJP leader was quoted as saying.
The home ministry announcement, a day after Eid festivities, said that operations against the militants will resume. “The Government of India decides not to extend the suspension of operations in Jammu and Kashmir announced in the beginning of Ramzan,” a ministry statement said.
Apart from all this, the BJP president will also meet to ensure that the forthcoming Amarnath Yatra, which begins on 28 June, passes off smoothly without any violence.
Journalist Shujaat Bukhari murdered in gruesome attack at Press Enclave; 2 PSOs also killed
Srinagar, Jun 14: Dr Syed Shujaat Bukhari, a prominent senior journalist and Editor-in-Chief of Daily Rising Kashmir, was killed on Thursday evening in a gruesome attack by unidentified gunmen outside his office at the Press Enclave here.
Forty minutes to the penultimate Iftar of 2018 Ramadan, sounds of, at least, ten gunshots reverberated in the media hub.
The journalists rushed out of their offices only to find Shujaat, his Personal Security Official (PSO), and his driver lying in a pool of blood in his bullet-ridden SUV just outside Shujaat’s office.
Eyewitnesses said at least two persons armed with AK47 rifles fired indiscriminately at the vehicle, critically wounding the three men.
Shujaat, who was sitting in the middle seat, received multiple bullets, and his PSO, in the front, had been shot in his face.
The driver, also a policeman, also was critically injured.
The attackers appeared to have emptied their magazines over the victims before escaping.
For the next about 10 minutes, the vehicle remained stranded, as no one could muster courage to go near the victims.
Shujaat’s was lying face down on the seat, blood all around him. A young journalist touched his body, but couldn’t detect the pulse.
The jaw of the dead PSO sitting next to the driver was literally dangling. He had exit wounds on his neck. He died at the spot.
The driver, however, was still breathing, whispering something. His eyes were about to shut.
A hoax cry about the attackers still being there sent everyone running away from the vehicle, until they rushed back a few seconds later.
Chaos and fear was visible on the scribes’ faces, while a few photojournalists clicked pictures of the scene.
No one, however, was willing to drive out the dying driver or the other two to the hospital.
They were eventually carried into the police vehicle that arrived at the scene.
Rushing in, the police fired a bullet in the air to disperse the crowd, and a cop subsequently drove the damaged SUV to the hospital where Shujaat was declared brought dead.
The driver too succumbed soon after.
Shujaat’s body was handed over to his family at Kreeri, Baramulla, for the last rites.
A police spokesperson later issued the following statement: “It is learnt that some militants this evening fired upon senior journalist and Editor-in-Chief of the daily Rising Kashmir Shujaat Bukhari at Press Enclave Lal Chowk. While Shujaat Bukhari was traveling in a car near Press enclave he was fired upon indiscriminately which resulted in the instant death of Bukhari and a PSO who was with him. The other injured PSO who was shifted to the hospital in critical condition has succumbed to his injury.”
The spokesperson said that “preliminary investigations indicate it was a militant attack”.
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