Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday blamed the central leadership from Jawaharlal Nehru to incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the mess in Jammu and Kashmir and asked India and Pakistan to join hands because only a dialogue — and not confrontation — will solve the problem.
Mehbooba said people of her state were not to be faulted for the turmoil that has rocked the Kashmir Valley in the past five weeks.
“Neither is our country India bad. In one way or the other, the mistakes have been committed by the leadership from the time of Jawaharlal Nehru to today. The fault is theirs,” the Chief Minister said after unfurling the national flag at Srinagar’s Bakshi Stadium.
She said the central government has confined democracy in Jammu and Kashmir to electoral politics only.
“The biggest part of democracy is dialogue. We have resolved so many issues but why have we failed to take forward the dialogue process here,” she asked, stressing on talks to resolve the problems in the state.
Referring to the 1987 rigged elections, she said contestants, including Syed Salahuddin of Hizbul Mujahideen who have now turned separatist leaders, were then looking for alternatives to the National Conference and Congress but “it was not allowed”.
Mehbooba’s first Independence Day speech was in sharp contrast to Prime Minister Narendra Modi address in Delhi. Her PDP and Modi’s BJP govern the state in coalition.
While Modi lashed out at Pakistan for supporting terror and openly supported freedom for Balochistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir, his ally urged the two nations to come together and solve the Kashmir problem jointly.
“So much blood has flown in the Jhelum river and it has no capacity to bear further bloodshed,” she said.
The Kashmir Valley has been on the boil since the July 8 killing of a popular rebel commander that sparked a widespread unrest leaving 56 people dead and thousands injured.
The Chief Minister urged people to denounce violence and said: “If we can’t find our solution in the world’s biggest democracy, we won’t find it anywhere else. We hope that the effort that was incomplete in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s time would now be completed under Narendra Modi.”
The Chief Minister faced some embarrassment as she hoisted the tricolor that fell off the post while being unfurled.
Witnesses said when she pulled the string, the flag landed on the ground. Two security personnel later held the flag in their hands as Mehbooba gave the ceremonial salute to the tricolor. The flag was later set right and hoisted atop the post.
The Chief Minister has ordered state police chief to suspend those responsible for the incident.