Mufti Advocates Talks in 'Caged' Srinagar
Conducive atmosphere for talks? Really?
SRINAGAR: Even as many parts of the capital Srinagar were turned into a fortress ahead of a function to commemorate the Martyrs of 1931, chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed advocated dialogue between India and Pakistan for resolution of Kashmir issue.
“Since 1947, we have been living in uncertainty. The reality is that the two countries cannot fight each other. Like former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said, 'we can change friends, not neighbours',” Mufti told a gathering of party workers at the Martyrs Graveyard here, amid severe restrictions in the adjoining areas where people were stopped from coming out of their homes.
"Na bandook se na goli se, baat banegi boli se (not by gun or bullet, results will come through dialogue)," he said, pointing to the meeting in Ufa, Russia where the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, and his Pakistan counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, shook hands.
Curfew-like restrictions were imposed in old Srinagar city and all the prominent Hurriyat leaders were placed under house arrest by the J&K government to foil their joint march to Martyrs' Graveyard here.
Angry youth staged pro-freedom and anti-India protests in Maisuma and clashed with forces. The forces fired scores of teargas shells to disperse the youth. The clashes continued for several hours. There were no reports of injury or loss of life during the clashes.
Paying tributes to the Martyrs of 1931, Mufti said the people of J&K will not forget their fight against suppression and autocracy. “It was a unique struggle that culminated in the sacrifice by our martyrs, who scripted a new dawn in the history of the State which laid the edifice for democracy and human dignity of people,” he said, even as hundreds of police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers were deployed in downtown city to thwart the Hurriyat march to the graveyard.
Amid reports that an RSS-backed NGO is planning to legally fight for the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which give special status to the J&K, Mufti said his party supports the legislation and exhorted the gathering to safeguard it.
Mufti said the J&K assembly has the supreme powers of discretion over the legislations passed by Indian parliament. “I want to tell people that under Indian Constitution, Jammu and Kashmir has a unique identity and we have a power assembly. If Indian parliament makes any legislation, our assembly has the power to accept or not to adopt it,” Mufti said.
Reiterating his resolve to rehabilitate all flood victim, he said the state government is "vigorously" pursuing a Comprehensive Flood Protection and Management Programme with the Centre to save the state from the persistent threat of floods.
“The project envisages construction of an alternate flood channel worth Rs 2200 crore. We will ensure that all measures are taken to secure valley from any future inundation,” he said.
After laying floral wreaths and offering Fateha at the graveyard, the chief minister said peace and tranquility are a vital pre-requisite for achieving progress and prosperity. “The real homage one can pay to the martyrs is by creating an equitable environment for everyone to grow and gel together in a democratic atmosphere,” he said.