Politicians Behind Kashmir Mess: Mufti
3 March 2003
The Times of India
New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has blamed politicians, including himself for the alienation of the people in the state and the migration of the minority community, the Kashmiri Pandits. 'It is the politicians who are responsible for the people's alienation as they failed to address their grievances and problems. I myself cannot be absolved of this responsibility and might have erred at some point of time,' the Mufti said, adding he wanted to make good for the mistakes. Speaking at a Shivratri celebration organised by him here on Saturday, the Mufti said: 'Our heads hang in shame for what has happened to the minority community which spoiled the 'guldasta' (Kashmir described as a bouquet comprising a variety of flowers, representing different communities), which Jammu and Kashmir was known for centuries. The Kashmiri Pandits are the inseparable part of the flowering Kashmiriyat and this has to be revived come what may.' The Mufti is the first Chief Minister to organise a Shivratri Milan which was attended, among other, by J&K Governor G C Saxena, senior Congress leaders Karan Singh, Ghulam Nabi Azad, M L Fotedar and Jaipal Reddy, Panther's party leader Bhim Singh, and state ministers Mangat Ram Sharma and Taj Mohi-ud-Din. Making a fervent appeal to the Kashmiri migrants to return to the Valley, the Mufti said: 'The successful completion of the elections has raised hopes among the people who have started seeing a silver lining in the dark clouds hovering over the state for long. If some movement has to start in the state, it has to be done in a democratic way.' He added: 'When we talk about the external designs preventing the situation from returning to normal, we should not forget that there are certain vested interests internally as well, who are opposed to normalisation of situation in the state.' The J&K Governor cautioned the people of the state against elements opposed to the restoration of peace in the state. 'People are closely monitoring the stands of various separatist groups and political parties. Anyone working against the wishes of the people would be wiped out of the state politics as the people are eagerly looking for all avenues for peace,' Saxena said.