Srinagar, Jan 15: Terming local militants as “sons of soil”, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti Tuesday said efforts should be made to save them, adding the Government of India (GoI) should initiate dialogue with the militant leadership in Kashmir to end the “gun culture”.
“Right now, talks should be held with Pakistan and separatists. Similarly, the militant leadership should also be talked to as it is they who have the guns and only they can end the gun culture,” she told reporters in Anantnag after a party function.
“I believe at some stage, talks will have to be held with Hurriyat Conference and militants as well,” she said.
Mehbooba said local militants should be prevented from walking on the path of violence.
“Right from the time I came into politics in 1996, I have been saying that local militants are sons of the soil and our maximum efforts should be to save them because they are assets.
“If an encounter breaks out, the two people (militants and security forces) come face to face and no one can do anything about it then,” she said.
The PDP leader said that people of Kashmir “are upset with us but don’t hate us” for the party’s decision to align with BJP.
“We aligned with BJP to resolve the issue of Kashmir, our party is created for resolution of Kashmir issue, not to come to power,” she said.
“We are sure sooner people will understand why we joined hands with BJP and leave their grudge aside,” Mehbooba added.
On those who left the party, Mehbooba said that they were always against her and that they were the ones to woo BJP in 2016 after her father’s death.
“Those who left the party went to BJP and asked them to form a government because they had a lust for power. If I had not aligned with BJP, God knows what these leaders would have compromised to come into power,” the former BJP ally said.
On her statement on civilian killings that was criticised, she reiterated that she was “just being a mother”.
On rehabilitation of militant families, Mehbooba said that she has always been visiting those who have been affected in the conflict.
“I have been visiting affected families since the incident of Machil encounter,” Mehbooba stated.
On Farooq Abdullah’s statement on operation all out, she said that during National conference rule the former chief minister said that fake encounters were on rise.
“Thank God! there was no fake encounter during our rule,” she said.