JAMMU/SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today pitched afresh for a dialogue between India and Pakistan to end the violence in the restive state, even as a gunfight raged between terrorists and security forces in Srinagar.
The chief minister also hit out at some media houses, which, she claimed, have created an atmosphere in which the very talk of talks was considered anti-national.
“If Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti say hold talks with Pakistan, they are dubbed anti-national. There is no alternative (to resolve the issue) except by holding talks,” Mehbooba told the state Assembly in Jammu on the concluding day of the budget session.
“If we (the Kashmiris) don’t talk about it (dialogue), who will? Not a Bihari, not a punjabi,” she said.
“Dialogue with Pakistan is necessary if we are to end bloodshed. I know I will be labelled anti-national by news anchors tonight but that doesn’t matter. The people of J&K are suffering. We have to talk because war is not an option,” she later tweeted.
A CRPF constable was killed in a gunfight with terrorists in downtown Srinagar after security forces foiled militants’ attempts to strike a CRPF camp.
The mllitants were still holed up in an abandoned house in Karan Nagar in the heart of the city where intermittent firing was on.
Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, meanwhile, has claimed responsibility for the attack on the CRPF camp. Its Kashmir chief Mehmood Shah claimed in an e-mailed statement that the attack was perpetrated by its activists.
The heavily-armed militants tried to strike the CRPF camp, located very close to SMHS Hospital from where Lashkar- e-Taiba militant Naveed Jutt alias Abu Hanzala was freed from police custody by terrorists on February 6.
The incident comes two days after Jaish-e-Mohammad militants attacked an Army camp in Sunjwan area of Jammu, killing six people including five soldiers. Three militants were also killed in retaliation by the Army.
“The search operation is still on (at the camp),” Jammu- based Army public relations officer Lt Col Devender Anand told PTI.
India and Pakistan, Mehbooba told the House, have fought three wars but the Kashmir problem has been been resolved.
“We have fought three wars in 1947, 1965 and 1971 and have won all of them, even Kargil war, but our basic problem has not been resolved,” she said, insisting a solution to the Kashmir question lay in talks alone.
Noting that Kashmiris were losing lives on the borders and in hinterland, civilians or security personnel, she said she was happy that both the opposition and the ruling parties in the state favoured dialogue for conflict resolution.