She says she cannot preside over civilian killings in the valley and remain silent.

 

Two Cabinet Ministers of the People’s Democratic Party have confirmed to The Sunday Guardian that PDP president and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has done some plain talking with Home Minister Rajnath Singh and has told the Central government that she can’t preside over civilian killings in the Kashmir valley and remain silent. “We in the PDP have reached a stage where we have to take the final call about the continuation of our alliance with the BJP,” a senior PDP minister told this newspaper.

Sources in J&K BJP also confirmed to The Sunday Guardian that it was Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti who had asked the central leadership of her ally BJP to sack the two BJP ministers Chaudhary Lal Singh and Chandar Prakash for their alleged role in fanning communal hatred in Jammu region and their encouragement to protests that were spearheaded by the Bar Association of Jammu.

Opposition parties in J&K including Omar Abdullah had been pressuring the CM to sack these two ministers. Mehbooba Mufti has reportedly told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that alienation has reached to such a level in the Kashmir valley, especially in South Kashmir, that it can lead to bloodshed of a mass scale.

Mehbooba Mufti, who was recently in New Delhi and met the PM and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, pleading with them for the suspension of anti-militancy operations during the current summer after she received the news that four youths had been killed and about hundred injured when the Army and the security forces opened fire on a stone pelting mob at Kulgam. Earlier, another PDP Minister Tasaduq Mufti, brother of Mehbooba, said in an interview that they can’t be silent on civilian killings and the way the security operations were going on.

He said that if the Centre will not intervene and start the dialogue process, the PDP will apologise to the people for having unknowingly pushed them into something they didn’t deserve”.

Tasaduq Mufti’s interview has come at a time when the PDP is going to discuss the fate of the coalition on Saturday. Mehbooba Mufti has signalled to her party members that they should be ready to pull out of the government. PDP insiders said that Mehbooba wants anti-militancy operations to be suspended and the process of dialogue to be started both with the separatists and Pakistan to end the present cycle of violence. According to the police data, in 2018, so far 18 youths have been killed near the encounter sites while 47 militants have been killed. As many as 20 men-in-uniform have also been killed, showing the spike in violence.

Reports said that Mehbooba Mufti is waiting for a response from the Central government, especially from Rajnath Singh who has assured her that through its official representative Dineshwar Sharma, the Centre will engage with the separatists very soon.

 

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