“Dialogue, not war, necessary”

TNN Bureau. Updated: 2/13/2018 1:41:18 AM Front Page

JAMMU: Even as a gunfight raged between terrorists and security forces in Srinagar, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in Jammu pitched afresh for a dialogue between India and Pakistan to end the violence in the restive state.
Even as she underlined the risk of being called 'anti-national' by some TV channels, the Chief Minister reiterated that people of the State have been the worst victims of continued violence and uncertainty and said that dialogue is the best way to resolve issues and end this acrimonious situation.
She minced no words while hitting out at some media houses, which, she claimed, have created an atmosphere in which the very talk of talks was considered anti-national; all she spoke separately in the two Houses of the State Legislature on the last day of the Budget session.
"For how long shall the people continue to die and for how long shall we be laying wreaths?", she said in an emotional tone adding that not wars but the reach outs hold the key to peace and friendship.
"If Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti say hold talks with Pakistan, they are dubbed anti-national. There is no alternative (to resolve the issue) except by holding talks," Mehbooba said.
"If we (the Kashmiris) don't talk about it (dialogue), who will? Not a Bihari, not a punjabi," she said.
"Dialogue with Pakistan is necessary if we are to end bloodshed. I know I will be labelled anti-national by news anchors tonight but that doesn t matter. The people of J&K are suffering. We have to talk because war is not an option," she later tweeted.
Mehbooba also assailed "some tv channels" for vitiating the atmosphere in the state.
"There are some media houses that have created an atmosphere where even talking about talks has become anti- national. They hold worst debates with polarised mindset. They bring people from Kashmir who are not even known in their own colonies.
"They always speak anti-India. They are picked up because they use unparliamentary and bad language, particularly against India, and same type of people are picked from the other side to reply to them," Mehbooba said, while appealing media to play a positive and constructive role while reporting and discussing developments about the State.
India and Pakistan, Mehbooba told the House, have fought three wars but the Kashmir problem has been been resolved.
"We have fought three wars in 1947, 1965 and 1971 and have won all of them, even Kargil war, but our basic problem has not been resolved," she said, insisting a solution to the Kashmir question lay in talks alone.
Noting that Kashmiris were losing lives on the borders and in hinterland, civilians or security personnel, she said she was happy that both the opposition and the ruling parties in the state favoured dialogue for conflict resolution.
Recalling her father, the late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, she said the former chief minister always favoured dialogue as a tool to strengthen democracy, which, he felt, was a battle of ideas.
Later, terming the Legislature as the forum to raise and redress the problems of people, Mehbooba Mufti said opposition has a role to put Government on toes to deliver. She said democracy and dissent are the biggest strengths of the country the reflection of which is being witnessed in the two Houses of the State Legislature. She said it would be a tribute to the people that maximum issues of public importance are raised in the Legislature for redressal.
Mehbooba Mufti praised the Presiding Officers of the two Houses, Chairman, Haji Anayat Ali; Speaker, Kavinder Gupta and Deputy Speaker, Nazir Gurezi for the patience and manner in which they conducted the proceedings of the two Houses. She also praised the members of the two Houses for raising the issues of public importance during the session.
The Chief Minister also had a word of praise for the staff of both the Houses and all the related Departments for their dedication to make the session a success.

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