Mehbooba Mufti to Meet PM in Delhi
SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti is expected to meet the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other central ministers in the national capital as the PDP-BJP alliance is embroiled in controversies over simmering tensions in Kashmir Valley.
The alliance is heading towards a split after a series of controversial remarks by the BJP's point man on Kashmir, Ram Madhav and J&K's industries minister and BJP leader Chander Prakash Ganga who said "bullets were the only remedy" to deal with stone-throwers in the Valley.
"It (remarks by BJP leaders) has not made our position any easier at a time when the situation is volatile in Kashmir. Instead of starting a dialogue with separatists, the BJP is trying to undermine the state government," a senior PDP leader who is a cabinet minister told The Citizen.
Mufti, who arrived in the national capital yesterday, will attend a meeting of Chief Ministers at Niti Aayog after which she is expected to meet the home minister Ranjnath and later PM Modi on Monday. She will brief the central leaders about the situation in Kashmir.
The PDP minister said the remarks of the senior BJP leaders have put pressure on the party whose core constituency, Kashmir Valley, has eroded "significantly" due to "little action" on the 'Agenda of the Alliance' (AoA) by the BJP, the governance framework agreed between the two parties for ruling the state.
"The Chief Minister will raise with the central leaders the issue of non-implementation of some points agreed in the AoA which includes starting a political process of dialogue with the Hurriyat Conference and Pakistan. Using harsh measures against protesters will only flare up the situation further," the PDP minister said.
Although the two parties had agreed to start a process of internal and external dialogue on Kashmir, there has been no effort by the centre towards that end. Instead, the BJP leaders have termed the Hurriyat leaders as trouble mongers and ruled out any talks with Pakistan till it stops "funding terrorists" in J&K.
Kashmir remains tense following the conclusion of Srinagar bypoll on April 9 which recorded a dismal 7 percent turnout. Nine protesters were shot dead in retaliatory action against protesters by government forces on the day as a wave of anti-India and pro-freedom protests swept the region.
Although the anger among the people had subsided to a large extent, the assault on students of a government run college in the restive South Kashmir's Pulwama by forces earlier this month during which 50 students including girls were injured, turned campuses of educational institutions into new battlegrounds.
A wave of protests broke out in colleges and higher secondary schools across Kashmir last week during which more than 100 students were injured. At least 10 students suffered critical injuries, forcing the authorities to suspend 3G and 4G internet services while colleges and schools were shut amid fears of more protests.
(Cover Photograph BASIT ZARGAR: Hundreds attend funeral of 2 militants killed in a brief encounter in Hayatpora village in Kashmirs Budgam district on Saturday)