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Mufti urges separatists to join talks
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, January 30
Hailing the results of the civic poll held in Baramula and Kupwara yesterday, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has said that people of the Valley have finally voted for peace and development.

Disregarding the threat of the gun and boycott calls by separatists, the voters have emerged as their own masters, the Chief Minister said. Respecting the mandate, he said continuity in the process of people’s empowerment by holding the Panchayati Raj elections as promised would be maintained. Speaking to TNS at his Maulana Azad Road residence today, the Chief Minister also hoped that the Centre would restore dialogue for resolving the Kashmir issue.

Such a dialogue must witness the participation of those who support accession and even those who bluntly oppose it, the Chief Minister noted. He offered to the separatists to participate in the peace process, saying they should have been the main votaries of dialogue. “People’s problems can’t wait for them to get to the conference table,” he remarked.

Underlining the sea change in the people’s perception of the separatists and the terrorists’ role, the Chief Minister said, “We have witnessed a record turnout of 83.52 per cent in Kupwara, which is a hot bed of militancy. Even in Baramula where one Congress candidate was killed, people have voted openly. This indicates they want peace. It a challenge for us to fulfil their aspirations.”

“We are contesting these elections not on the issue of resolution of the Kashmir problem, but on the ground of provision of civic amenities to Kashmiris. People have taken power in their own hands, showing they are interested in the solution of problems like roads, sanitation, shortage of power, etc. In a scenario where everyone is talking peace – we are releasing detenues, the Prime Minister ordered withdrawal of the Army, talks are on to restore the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar road link and the Army is punishing officers charged with human rights violations — the separatists should accept the offer of dialogue,” the Chief Minister hoped, adding that every stalemate must end, sooner than later.

On the eve of his tenure’s end, he also made positive references to the devolution of powers in some states. “People have woken up to a sense of bonding in states where they have been empowered through the Panchayati Raj.


CM on Baglihar

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister today clarified that Kashmir’s economic self-reliance was important to him. He called for successful completion of the Baglihar project which would ensure 900 MW power to the region. “Baglihar is our life vein. We have been discriminated against in the Indus Water Treaty. We want it completed. It will complement Saulakot power project which will give us 600 MW power. We have already spent Rs 2,500 crore on these projects,” the Chief Minister said.

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