Make J&K ‘bridge of friendship’: Mehbooba to India, Pak

SRINAGAR, JAN 21: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today appealed India and Pakistan to make Jammu and Kashmir a “bridge of friendship” between them and not let it become a battleground.
“Our borders are witnessing, god forbid, a bloodbath. Our Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) often talks of development but at the same time something opposite is happening in our state. Our schools are shut and children are trapped inside their homes,” the chief minister said.
“I appeal to our prime minister and our neighbour Pakistan to make J&K a bridge of friendship between the two countries and not let it become a battleground,” Mehbooba said.
She was speaking at the passing out parade of new police constables at Subsidiary Training Centre at Sheeri, 65 kilometres from here, in Baramulla district of north Kashmir.
The PDP chief said it was the people of J&K who were getting killed in firing on both sides of the border.
“It is our misfortune that our state has become a basis of a conflict between our country India and Pakistan. For the last few days, our borders are witnessing firing in which several of our people have been killed,” she said.
“It is obvious that the situation will be same on the other side (of the border),” Mehbooba said.
The chief minister said the Jammu and Kashmir Police have the most difficult job in the country as they face many challenges.
“Your challenge is not just to maintain law and order or uphold the rule of law, but you have to face your own people, small children sometimes (while maintaining law and order) and that time you will have to exercise restraint,” she said.
At least 10 people were killed and 50 others injured in a firing from across the border that started on Thursday.
The firing also forced thousands of people to flee their homes and take shelter in rehabilitation camps or with their relatives.
Mehbooba said another challenge for the police was bring back youngsters who were taking up arms.
Referring to the killing of a minor girl in Kathua district’s Hiranagar area, Mehbooba asked the police to give special attention to the crimes against women.
“I request you (police) to take care of everything while discharging your duties. Drug addiction is a big problem here, atrocities are being done on women. Recently, a small girl was assaulted in Kathua,” she said.
“We had to suspend the SHO there because, perhaps there was some negligence. We have constituted a team to enquire the issue,” she added.
Additional Director General of Police, Muneer Khan; Inspectors General of Police, Ahfad-ul-Mujtaba and Jagjit Kumar; GoC, 19thInfantry Division, Lt. Gen. G S Rawat; Deputy Commissioner, Baramulla, Nasir Naqash; other senior Police and civil officers and family members of recruit constables were present on the occasion.
Braving the winter cold large number of people of the catchment areas also attended the function. (AGENCIES)