Anantnag: “Those demanding freedom for Kashmir and resorting to violence for the purpose, may answer the question why there is continued violence in independent countries like Syria and Afghanistan!” asked Mehbooba Mufti, the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, reprimanding separatists. “Do you wish to create an Afghanistan-like or a Syria-like situation in the state?” was the Chief Minister’s forthright question to them. She appreciated however, the restraint exhibited by the security forces and the police department during the violent protests.
Mehbooba Mufti came down heavily on separatist leaders as she spoke about the violent demonstrations that followed Burhan Wani’s killing. In a public address on Monday last, stating on the one hand that the violent demonstrations had subjected the people of Kashmir to tremendous loss, she castigated on the other, the separatist leaders demanding freedom for Kashmir. Those asking for the freedom of Kashmir would have to answer the question why there was violence in independent countries like Syria and Afghanistan. She also drew attention to the fact that the people of the country were being made to suffer enormous losses because of extremists.
“In Jammu and Kashmir violence has forced schools and colleges to shut down which again is a loss to students. The moneyed may send their wards to other states for education but what about those who are not? Ought their children to remain uneducated?” she asked hitting out at separatists. She even wondered, she said, if the extremists in the state were scheming to ensure that the children there remained uneducated. Only if the children in the state remained uneducated, could they recruit them in their stone-throwing brigade and that possibly was the plot hatched by those damaging the students’ career, she said lashing out at them.
Chief Minister Mufti remarked that instigating the youth and inciting them to these activities was the separatists’ means of earning bread and butter. She also pointed out that the violent demonstrations had left behind nothing but destruction and damage for the people of Kashmir. Thanks to the development of tourism, the economy of Jammu and Kashmir had only just begun to steady down and it was precisely then that the violent demonstrations had to happen completely knocking down progress, she said expressing her regret. However, should her government be given the opportunity and the stipulated period of five years, she was confident she could revamp and in fact completely transform the state.
In the meanwhile tension still prevails in Jammu and Kashmir and separatist leaders are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that it persists. Syed Ali Shah Geelani, a leader of the Hurriyat Conference, the main separatist organization, is reported to have written anti-India graffiti. A petrol bomb was hurled at the house of the Minister for Education, Naeem Akhtar. Posters threatening to finish those who act against Kashmir have been pasted on walls in Baramulla. The police have begun investigations of these posters.