Stones and guns in hands of poor youth, need to find a middle path to end cycle of violence: Mehbooba

Srinagar, May 7: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today appealed to the Centre to find a “middle path” for ending the cycle of violence in the Valley which was consuming the lives of poor youth and security forces.
Five Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists including a top commander and a university professor were killed in an encounter in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir today. Five civilians died during clashes between protesters and law enforcing agencies near the encounter site.
“The tragedy in which five civilians were killed yesterday is very painful. I appeal to Government of the country (Centre) to find a way for ending this bloodshed,” she told reporters at the reopening of Civil Secretariat here as part of the traditional Darbar move practice.
She also appealed to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, especially the parents, to value life.
“Allah has given us life to live it well, not to embrace death at 18 or 19 years of age,” she said.
Mehbooba said a way out has to be found to end this cycle of violence which is consuming young lives in the state.
“The stones and guns are in the hands of poor (youth). We have to find a middle path to ensure that these boys do not get killed and our army men and policemen also do not get killed,” she said.
In a statement yesterday, the chief minister had said “It sounds very depressing to note that our State is losing young lives to the unending cycle of violence who could otherwise be utilized for a positive contribution to the State”.
The chief minister said political issues need political intervention.
“I have reiterated it time and again that political issues need political interventions. I appeal youth that their energies, youthfulness, dreams and aspirations are far more important and sacred to the society than their dead bodies or graves,” she said.
The chief minister also appealed all sections of civil society, media, students, parents and other stakeholders to rise to this critical occasion, play their role and help in putting an end to this cycle of bloodshed in the state.
Mehbooba reiterated her stand that issues in Jammu and Kashmir can be resolved only through a sustained dialogue between all stakeholders.
“The three decades’ long violence in the state is a testimony to the fact that guns from either side cannot ensure peace, but a compassion driven reconciliation process based on mutual respect surely can. In this regard, I appeal the national leadership of the country to show the element of compassion and empathy as required by the present day situation here and display the statesmanship to get J-K out of the quagmire of killings by engaging in a meaningful dialogue in the State.
“The sooner it happens, the more we can get our state out of the vicious cycle of killings and destruction,” she said.
Meanwhile Civil Secretariat, the seat of the Jammu and Kashmir government, today opened here after functioning in winter capital for six months as part of the nearly 150-year-old practice known in the state as ‘Darbar Move’.
Besides the Civil Secretariat, the other move offices, including Raj Bhawan, police headquarters and several commissions opened here this morning.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti inspected the tradiitional guard of honour given to her by a police contingent at the Civil Sectretariat lawns.
The practice of the ‘Darbar Move’ — under which the state government functions in Jammu during six winter months and in Srinagar during summer — was started by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1872 to escape extreme weather conditions in the two regions of the state.
However, the practice was continued even after Independence with the aim of providing governance benefits to both the Kashmir and Jammu regions of the state for six months by turns.
While Jammu and Srinagar cities benefit from this practice as the roads and other infrastructure get the basic minimum repairs done on annual basis, the ‘Darbar Move’ incurs expenditure of crores of rupees that could have been used for other productive activities every year.
The practice involves moving voluminous files between Jammu and Srinagar and thousands of employees between the two cities in hundreds of buses and trucks.
The employees who work in the move offices, as these offices are known in the state, get two weeks of free holidays and compensatory allowances twice every year.
Several political parties have in the past demanded scrapping the practice and instead establishing permanent offices both at Jammu and Srinagar.
Even the BJP, the coalition partner in the Jammu and Kashmir government with the PDP, called for abandoning the ‘Darbar Move’ practice last year.