July 2016 News

Trade, Civil Society Bodies Snub Rajnath Singh, Boycott Meeting

23 July 2016

Srinagar: Efforts to rope in trade and civil society groups for defusing tension in the Valley received a major setback on Saturday when Kashmir Inc refused to meet the visiting Union home minister Rajnath Singh, even as J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti reached out to the people and met the families of victims of violence in Kupwara. Singh, who arrived here on Saturday morning, was supposed to meet representative of several trade bodies, political leaders and other civil society groups to seek their suggestions to deal with the situation and restore peace in the valley that has claimed 47 lives and over 5,500 people including 3,000 security men have been injured. However, the major trade bodies refused to meet Singh with a plea to take concrete steps to resolve the vexed Kashmir dispute for posterity. 'It is high time they (Centre) should resolve this dispute. Unless this issue is resolved, such situations will continue to arise. Be it 2008, 2010 and now 2016. What sort of justice is it that you use pellet guns? Sixty people have been martyred and over 120 blinded,' said Mohommad Yasin Khan, president of Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation. However, some people met the home minister on Saturday. Most of them were seen concealing their identity while going to meet Singh. 'By all means, organise transport for them but when the state government uses ambulances for this it invites trouble!!' tweeted Omar Abdullah, former J&K chief minister. The development comes on the day when police said apart from the areas under the jurisdiction of six police stations of Srinagar, Pulwama and Anantnag towns, curfew was lifted from all other places in Valley. However, restrictions on assembly of people continued throughout the Valley. 'The situation throughout the valley remained peaceful and under control. There were no reports of any untoward incident from anywhere in the valley although some stray stone pelting incidents were reported from isolated places,' a police spokesman said. Police said during the law and order situations more than 3,000 police and security force personnel suffered injuries across Kashmir in the last 15 days. On the other side chief minister Mehbooba Mufti visited border town of Kupwara to offer personal condolences to the families whose near and dear ones were killed during the unrest 'I am pained to see that all these victim families belong to the poorest of the poor sections of the society,' she said assuring the affected families here and assured all possible support to them. Seeking public cooperation in restoration of normalcy and peace to prevent further loss of lives, 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. The elements who are glorifying these killings and playing politics over the graves of these poor youth, never bother to look back at the plight of the victim families once the things settle down,' she said. 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 the economic activity starts picking up in Kashmir with the encouraging increase in tourist arrivals as had happened this year, several quarters with vested interest in Kashmir turmoil seem to have ganged up to orchestrate another spate of deadly violence and push the people towards further economic deprivation,' she said