February 2018 News

Delhi-JK On Same Page, AFSPA Revocation Demand Not Realistic At This Time: Mehbooba

2 February 2018
Brighter Kashmir
Parvinder Singh

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today said that both Centre and State are on same page when it comes to the policy matters. 'We're often alleged that in State, ours is North-South Pole government, it's an unholy alliance. But, let me tell you that ours is a pious alliance. The opposition should respect the mandate of the people,' she said. The Chief Minister was obviously referring to the opposition National Conference and Congress's allegations that the Mehbooba Government is usually not taken on board with regard to policy matters. Mehbooba said that on all policy matters, both Centre and State are on same page. 'Even when we sought withdrawal of FIRs against the first time stone-pelters, Centre endorsed. So, we think we are on same page,' the Chief Minister said. Mehbooba also asserted that the demand for revocation of Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) from Jammu and Kashmir is not realistic now. She said that situations are not conducive to revoke the Act that guaranteed some special powers to armed forces in the State. The Chief Minister said that the Act could have revoked earlier but at the time when the entire state is going through tough time, any discussion on revocation of AFSPA is not realistic. The Chief Minister said so in reply to CPI (M) legislator, Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami while concluding the debate on the grants of Home, GAD and other allied departments. She said that until and unless a section of people will not stop indulging in stone pelting incidents, the presence of Army and other security forces will increase by every passing day. 'We also wish that AFSPA should go but this is the bitter reality of our State a section of people believes in stone pelting, revocation of AFSPA and decrease in Army's footprint in Valley at the same time. It is not possible,' she said. Without naming them, she also targeted the separatists for using the religious places to provoke youths for participating in the stone-pelting incidents. She said that the stone-pelting youths are encouraged from mosques. 'Why certain people use mosques to spread their agenda? They should not use religious places to spread their agenda,' Mehbooba said. The Chief Minister said that solution to the Kashmir Problem lies only with Government of India with participation of mainstream parties. She however said that, within the ambit of constitution, the separatists can also contribute for addressing the grievances of the people 'but they will never do that.' 'Let them go with their agenda of Azaadi. They shall be left at their will if they are not ready to join the mainstream,' the Chief Minister said. Mehbooba Mufti also held media particularly the electronic media responsible for the worsening law and order situation in Kashmir Valley. 'A section of electronic media is adding fuel to the fire. They call those panelists who have no relevance. Usually I see in the TV channel debates that neither the ruling party's nor the opposition's panelist is known to anyone,' Mehbooba Mufti said. Replying to NC's demand of self-rule, the Chief Minister said that self-rule is not outside the constitution of the state provided it doesn't compromise the sovereignty of the Nation. Mehbooba also said that she want to see Jammu and Kashmir as an empowered State of the Central Asia region. She said, 'I even wish that Jammu and Kashmir joins the CPEC but since we've some political compulsions and issues we're entangling with internally, we cannot join this economic platform.' 'Otherwise we could have joined the CPEC to be the gateway of Central Asia,' she said. The Chief Minister said that strategically the position of Jammu and Kashmir is very good but due to militancy, the state cannot be economically strong. 'We've abundant water resources in J&K. We've the waters of Indus and despite ups and downs in relationship with Pakistan, the Indus Water treaty has survived,' the Chief Minister said. She also stressed on the opening of trade and historic routes between the PaK and Jammu and Kashmir. She said, 'I think the solution to our problem lies in opening of trade and other historic routes. We should open the Suchetgarh-Sialkot, Gurez-Astoor and other routes. Twice in the year, we should allow the people from either side on cultural tours.' Replying to former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on his jibe at Mehbooba calling BJP a party of devils, she said, 'Omar Sahib may have some belief on mythological stories but I don't believe in mythologies. For me, no party is untouchable.' 'Omar Sahib said that I will go to hell for forging an alliance with BJP..I am ready to embrace hell if I can take the State out of crisis,' she said. The Chief Minister said that both PDP and BJP are facing criticism for forging an alliance but both the parties joined hands to respect the public mandate. She said that the former Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah also tried to provoke her coalition partner, BJP for not reacting to the Amarnath terrorist attack. She said that BJP also respected the holy alliance and it only speaks on developmental works. Mehbooba also pitched for dialogue as the only solution to all the outstanding issues. She said the both Pakistan and India fought several wars but then solution emerged out of dialogue only. The Leader of the House, Chief Minister called Army most disciplined force in the country. She said, 'Because of some black sheep, we cannot blame our Army because it is the most disciplined force of the country.' 'Some army men were named in the infamous Mumbai scandal but it does not mean that the entire army is faulty. So, we should only identify the black sheep and not disrespect the entire institution,' The Chief Minister also assured that the culprits of Kathua incident will not be spared. Speaking on working groups and interlocutors, the Chief Minister said, 'We've to use their expertise to put this State out of crisis.' Chief Minister also talked about the progress achieved in disposing off the cases of SRO-43. She also assured to relook into the SRO-202 and issues of the Home Guards. The Chief Minister also assured that the pellet victim Insha would be handed over the Gas Agency on Monday.