Srinagar : Taking a diametrically opposite stand from the Centre on the Kashmir issue and under persistent attack from the Opposition for “shelving the promise of dialogue with the separatists”, J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday told the Assembly that there was “no other way but talks” for the resolution of the Kashmir issue.
“Dialogue has always been part of our agenda and manifesto, whether it was in 2002 or today. Several wars have been fought but the issue has not been resolved. You cannot resolve issues with guns or armies…We have to unite to get this (resolving the issue) done. Our people are dying, life along the border is disturbed and poor people on both sides are dying,” the CM said while taking part in a discussion on obituary references for leaders who passed away between the two sessions of the state Assembly.
Mehbooba said while India was surging ahead of its neighbouring countries due to democracy, the “strangulation of this very idea in Kashmir” had led to the deteriorating situation in the Valley over the years. “It is democracy which has kept the nation alive and helped it move ahead of its neighbours. In our state, the main reason behind the bloodshed we are witnessing is that democracy was not allowed to take roots here. It was rejected and strangulated,” she said.
The People’s Democratic Party chief said it was only in a democracy like India that people could put their divergent views out in the public domain. “(Independent MLA) Engineer Rashid is talking big here and he can do it. We will not see this anywhere else,” she added.
Stressing on the need for dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue, she said whatever happened in the past should not come in the way of efforts to find a solution through talks.
“I appeal to the central and state governments to open the doors for dialogue to put an end to the atmosphere of terror as it cannot solve the issues. It only complicates them further,” the CM said.