July 2016 News

Kashmir Protests Orchestrated By Those With Stakes In Turmoil: Mehbooba

23 July 2016
The Hindustan Times

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday said that the recent bout of violence in Kashmir was 'orchestrated by vested interests with stakes in Kashmir unrest'. While visiting the families of people killed in the ongoing crisis in north Kashmir's Kupwara district, Mehbooba said it has always been seen that many 'internal and external forces gang up to destabilise Kashmir' once there is some semblance of normalcy in the Valley. 'Whenever economic activity starts picking up in Kashmir with encouraging increase in tourist arrivals as had happened this year, several quarters with vested interests in Kashmir turmoil seem to have ganged up to orchestrate another spate of deadly violence and push the people towards further economic deprivation,' a government spokesman quoted her as saying. Kashmir has been on the boil after security forces fired bullets and pellets at stone-pelting protesters mourning the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter on July 8. At least 47 persons were killed, mostly due to bullet wounds, and over 1,900 injured, 600 of them due to pellets, during the 15-day unrest. Separatists have been calling for protests and strikes against the killings with state imposing curfew for the past 15 days. Mehbooba said violence hits every aspect of the local economy, with tourism and education being the main targets. 'There are reports that another round of educational migration has already started from the Valley, with many affluent families preferring educational institutions outside Kashmir for their wards,' the Chief Minister said. She said people have to ponder over what is going on and who is getting hurt the most because of such situations. 'If there is peace, there will be development, tourism, employment, and people will lead a happy and prosperous life. And if God forbid, there is no peace, it is only our people who would be the worst sufferers,' she said and added that it is especially the poorest of the poor who suffer the most in such situations. In Kupwara, Mehbooba offered 'personal condolences' to the families whose near and dear ones were killed since the violence erupted. 'I am pained to see that all these victim families belong to the poorest of the poor sections of the society,' she said, expressing deep grief and anguish. On Thursday, Mehbooba had met the families of those killed in violence in south Kashmir's Anantnag. Mehbooba appealed the youth, their parents and families to 'help the government in restoring peace so that the miseries of the people can go away'. 'Violence has only brought destruction to our state and left behind a trail of tragedies in the shape of hundreds of orphans, destitute and widows who are living a miserable life because of the lack of any institutionalized support,' she said. The CM accused 'some elements of glorifying these killings and playing politics over the graves of these poor youth'. She said they never bother to look back at the plight of the victim's families after that. Hailing various sections of the society for reaching out to the needy, the Chief Minister especially commended the dedication and the commitment of the doctors, the paramedical staff, the nurses, the ambulance drivers, the community relief organizations and individuals who put in their best efforts to help the people affected by the violence. 'I salute such citizens who reached out to the needy amid trying circumstances,' she said.