Govt appeals to Hurriyat, mainstream parties
STATE TIMES NEWS
SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir government on Sunday appealed to separatist Hurriyat Conference, besides mainstream parties, to assist in its efforts towards restoring normalcy in the state, which has been rocked by violent protests following the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani.
“The cabinet appealed to all political forces who have expressed concern for people’s lives — be it National Conference, Congress, CPI(M) or other components of the mainstream or those people who are not in the mainstream…those who are really concerned as much we are concerned which includes leaders from the Hurriyat….
“We appeal to them that if they want peace in the state and steps taken by government for saving lives of people succeed, we need their support also,” Education Minister Naeem Akhtar.
Akhtar, who is also the government spokesman, was briefing the media about the cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti where the situation in Kashmir Valley was reviewed. Chief Secretary B R Sharma and Director General of Police K Rajendra Kumar briefed the cabinet. Akhtar said the Cabinet expressed anguish on the deterioration of the situation which resulted in the death of some youths.
“It was unfortunate and regrettable development,” he said, adding there were a number of attacks on police stations and security force camps which forced the law enforcement agencies to use weapons.
“If you see, how many police stations were set ablaze and how many camps were tried to be overrun…. As a society, we should not take protests — whether required or not — to a level where the forces are forced to use their weapons,” he said.
He, however, added that if there was any instance of disproportionate use of force, it will be investigated. “We will go to the bottom of it and find out why it happened,” he said, cautioning people not to become tools in the machinations of instigators of violence. The minister said the parents of young children also have a responsibility to keep an eye on their wards. “If you see the footages you have, small kids who do not know why but are still having stones in their hands,” he said. The minister said if any of the injured requires to be taken out of the state for treatment; the state government will bear the expenses. The Education Minister left the press conference after a reporter asked if the Mehbooba government will quit as the ruling PDP had made a similar demand when Omar Abdullah was the chief minister during the 2010 summer agitation in the Valley that left 120 persons dead. Earlier, referring to the violence, the minister said that such a situation has developed in the past as well. “Properties have been damaged. But loss of property can be compensated. The lives lost cannot be compensated. “Government is seized of its responsibilities. It was resolved (in the cabinet) that all steps will be taken for ensuring safety of life and property of the people. It was also resolved that forces exercise maximum restraint and try to avoid collateral damage,” he added. Akhtar also warned people against the designs of people with vested interests. “Often we have seen that people come out (on roads) being overcome by emotions but few instigators indulge in violence by hurling a petrol bomb or stones. The youth then become victims of the reaction to the action (of instigators),” he said. He dismissed media reports about shortage of blood or medicines in government hospitals. “There is no shortage of blood or medicines in hospitals,” he said He said efforts were on arrange additional flights for tourists stranded in the Valley while arrangements are afoot to ensure their safe movement to the airport. Akhtar said the Amarnath Yatra was still suspended from Jammu. “We are making efforts to resume it as soon as possible,” he added.