o major incident of violence in Kashmir; schools and markets closed
As Kashmir remains volatile, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday pushed for implementation of confidence-building measures (CBMs), taking up the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in New Delhi.
During her meeting with Mr. Modi in the national capital, Ms. Mufti apprised him of the situation in the Valley and urged for CBMs.
“Every segment of the society has suffered immensely during the past few months because of the turmoil,” Ms. Mufti was quoted as telling Mr. Modi.
During her separate meetings with Mr. Singh and Mr. Parrikar, the Chief Minister made a demand for opening of more travel and trade routes across the Line of Control.
“Opening of the LoC for more travel and trade points would not only improve people-to-people contact but also give the cross-LoC trade a further push,” Ms. Mufti said.
Ms. Mufti also sought relocation of troops from Srinagar’s Tattoo Ground.
“The land could be used for promotion of tourism activities and creation of a lung space in the city in view of the centrality of its location. Revision of rent of the land used by the Army was also discussed,” the Chief Minister said.
In an attempt to reach out to separatists, Ms. Mufti sought regularisation of the Nepal route for youth who wanted to return from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and start life afresh.
“In the absence of regularisation of the route, youth [who had gone for arms training] and now wanting to return to the state are facing innumerable problems,” she said.
Shutdown hits life in Valley
Normal life was again impacted in the Kashmir Valley on Monday owing to the shutdown call by separatists.
Barring Srinagar’s city centre Lal Chowk, there was minimal traffic on the roads. Most schools, markets and petrol pumps remained closed. There was no major incident of violence.
For over four months now, the separatists have been issuing calls for protests with a two-day relaxation every week.
Referring to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Monday to discuss the J&K situation, National Conference working president Omar Abdullah said: “…Ms. Mufti will look to the Centre for everything because she has surrendered all the authority of her office…How about you [Ms. Mufti] releasing the many thousands who have been arrested & withdraw their cases? That doesn’t require Delhi to act.”
Describing Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) statement against party chief and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah as “absurd”, the National Conference (NC) on Monday asked the “BJP to read history”. Dr. Abdullah recently said India cannot take back Pakistan-occupied Kashmir from Pakistan, attracting sharp criticism from the BJP, including the label of being “an anti-national”.
“The BJP must read history to perceive Dr. Abdullah’s contribution to the peace and prosperity of the country. His statement is factually true,” said NC’s general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar.