As school students clashed with security forces in Pulwama district on Friday, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti stressed that not every young Kashmiri was a stone pelter.
Kashmir once again stood at the crossroads, she said, but added peace would return to the troubled valley which has been seeing protests, mostly by students, over the last two months.
“There are some who pelt stones, but not all the youth from Kashmir do so,” she said, urging the national media not to highlight discussions that “developed hatred” against the people of the state.
Kashmiri students were “angry and disillusioned”, she told reporters at a brief interaction at the opening of the Civil Secretariat here, referring to the ongoing protests.
In Pulwama, the anger was visible as school students marched against what they described as police highhandedness, clashing with security forces. Police said the students threw stones at the security personnel, who baton charged them.
The students were demanding action against security personnel who had allegedly roughed students up during the ongoing protests and demanded the release of those who had been arrested.
The chief minister believed that some students were being “provoked”. “Some are being provoked. I think we should all work together to resolve this situation,” she said. The situation was “serious”, she added.
“But I do not think it is something which cannot be resolved,” she added. Kashmir, the CM said, had seen far worse. “Since 1947, there have been many occasions when J-K has gone through bad times. Today we are again at the crossroads,” she said.
The movement for a plebiscite for the status of Kashmir in the 1950s carried on for 22 years, she pointed out, but the leadership understood that the issue could not be resolved through violence.
“The Indira-Sheikh accord happened. Then the situation turned grim again after 1990. Sometimes militancy increased and sometimes it decreased,” she said.
The chief minister held that Jammu and Kashmir was the “soul” of India, and urged the people of the state to claim India as their own.
“When there is J-K, there is India. The people of J-K not only have a right over J-K, but on each part of the country and they should assert it,” she said.
Mufti noted that the states youth had been excelling in national-level examinations and in sports. They have so much potential that they can prove themselves anywhere in the country,” she said.