Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is trying to shift blame to the opposition for her government’s failure to contain street protests, which have intensified since the Srinagar bypolls on 9 April. CM Mufti defended herself on Friday, claiming that the anger on the streets of Kashmir is a result of the mishandling of the 2010 unrest by then then Omar Abdullah government.
In an oblique reference to slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani and dozens of teenagers who joined the militant ranks, she said the youth took to violence after their educational prospects were damaged by the then dispensation that frequently subjected them to third degree torture in police stations. She said that it was because of those pent up feelings of 2010 among the youth that they are going into violence. She claimed that she has been trying her best to stop the bloodshed in Kashmir and redress the grievances of the youth. She admitted that there are huge challenges involved, as the lowest ever turnout in two decades in Srinagar bypolls reflected the scale of people’s alienation.
CM Mehbooba’s rebuttal came after both Omar and his father Farooq Abdullah consistently blamed her for “forcing” the Kashmiri youth into extremism. National Conference veteran Farooq Abdullah even blamed the Mehbooba government for financing stone pelting on the polling day in Srinagar parliamentary constituency where he was in the fray.
Mehbooba Mufti said that all incidents of human rights violations, whether committed by stone-pelters or security forces, were unacceptable. She assured the people of Kashmir that all such incidents would be probed fairly and the culprits would be given exemplary punishment.