April 2016 News

Non-issue Being Turned Into Communal Incident: Mehbooba

8 April 2016
Rising Kashmir

Srinagar: In her first reaction to the ongoing unrest in National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has said a 'non-issue' is being tried to be converted into a communal incident by some elements and asserted that a handful of non-resident students are otherwise keen to migrate. 'Communal harmony, peace and development will be my top priority agenda, with a view to restore the confidence of the people in the PDP-BJP alliance,' Mehbooba told ETV Head Jagdeesh Chandra in an exclusive interview telecast this evening. It was her first interview after taking over as CM of the PDP-BJP coalition government on April 4. Referring to ongoing unrest in NIT, Mehbooba disclosed that in her first meeting with her BJP ministerial colleagues, she had stressed the need to underplay some unfortunate and uncalled for incidents like NIT, because the two parties have to run a coalition government in the state. She asserted that a non-issue was being tried to be converted into a communal incident by some elements. 'I had expressed the same view to Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani, when she called me on phone. I told the Union minister that in fact a handful of non-resident students at NIT were otherwise keen to migrate,' she said. The chief minister appreciated the bold public statement of Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani, who had appealed the NIT Kashmiri students to take care of the safety of non-Kashmiri students as they are 'the guests of Kashmir'. She expressed hope that all will be fine soon at NIT Srinagar, which has been witnessing unrest after India's loss to West Indies in WorldT20 semi final match on March 31. 'I am returning to Srinagar tomorrow to discuss certain key issues with the cabinet colleagues,' Mehbooba said. She expressed her complete trust and faith in leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 'He (PM Modi) wants to change the development face of the valley,' she said but cautioned Government of India (GoI) by saying that while dealing with Kashmir, they should always keep one thing in mind that Kashmir is different. 'Kashmir is not any another Indian state. Here the ground realities are a bit different and therefore, the state deserves a special attention and care,' Mehbooba said. She hailed recent statement of Arun Jaitely in which he had praised her late father Mufti Sayeed's vision and statesmanship. The CM also welcomed Jaitley's assurance that GoI will provide all possible help to rebuild the economy of Jammu & Kashmir and there will be no dearth of funds for development. 'Only massive and all-round development of Kashmir can change the mood and sentiment of local Kashmiri towards BJP and the GoI,' Mehbooba said adding she had never thought to be the Chief Minister and only wanted to be a Minister in her father's cabinet. 'Today, unfortunately, Mufti Sahib is not here and therefore there was no 'joy' at the time of oath-taking,' she said. Mehbooba also hinted that she is keen to create or build one more 'Wagha Border' point (like one near Amritsar near Indo-Pak border) at village Abdullah-Chachiya, with a view to create a historic monument and to attract tourists. 'I will take up the issue at the appropriate level of opening a 'Suchi-Sialkot (Pak) route' to promote local trade between Pakistan and the border areas of Kashmir,' he said. Mehbooba said this will further improve the relationship between the two neighbours. She seemed to be quite enthusiastic to take the state to the new heights with the help of the GoI.