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In Delhi, Mehbooba asks PM to initiate dialogue with Pak

New Delhi, Mar 31: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday appealed to the Kashmiri Pandits to visit the Valley.
“Kashmiri Pandits should visit Kashmir, their younger generations should see where their roots really lie. We will make all arrangements. Whatever has happened in the past is unfortunate but now we will have to move forward,” the Chief Minister said at an interactive session with the Kashmiri Pandits in Delhi.
Mufti also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take a leaf out of former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s book and initiate a dialogue with Pakistan.
“I urge Prime Minister Modi to talk to Pakistan just like Vajpayee ji did. Neither are we nor is Pakistan in a condition to fight a war, both countries know now that if there will be a war, nothing will be spared. Both the nations will just lose everything,” Mufti added.
Mehbooba, insisting that the time was ripe to move ahead and let the bygone be bygones, said that Kashmiri Pandits should visit the Valley so that their younger generations got familiarised with their roots.
She said it was important to move ahead even as one needed to know where he came from. She assured them that her government would make all necessary arrangements. Alluding to the displacement of hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley, she said what happened was unfortunate but it was time to move forward.
However, Mehbooba’s words did not go down well with the audience. A man suddenly got up and started shouting out loud, asking Mehbooba about relief for Kashmiri Pandits.
Ever since tension between the two countries has escalated, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Mehbooba’s Peoples’ Democratic Alliance to find takers for its stand that a dialogue between the two countries is the only feasible solution.
The Kashmiri Pandits began to leave the Valley in greater numbers in the 1990s during the eruption of militancy.
In 2010, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir noted that 808 Pandit families were still living in the Valley and that the financial and other incentives put in place to encourage others to return there had been unsuccessful. According to a Jammu and Kashmir Government report, 219 members of the community had been killed in the region between 1989 and 2004 but none thereafter.