Don’t punish 40 lakh Kashmiris for 300-400 militants: Mehbooba

New Delhi, Nov 9: Describing the ban on pre-paid mobile connections in Kashmir valley as "discriminatory", PDP president Mehbooba Mufti today said the Centre cannot punish nearly four million people ...

New Delhi, Nov 9: Describing the ban on pre-paid mobile connections in Kashmir valley as "discriminatory", PDP president Mehbooba Mufti today said the Centre cannot punish nearly four million people for "300-400 militants".
 "This is something discriminatory……If you have apprehensions about the security of the country, you cannot punish 37 lakh and 99 thousand people for 300-400 militants. Because when you are talking about building bridges, building trusts between the two sides. I think it (the ban) was done hastily and it should not have been done," Mehbooba said during a media interaction here.
 Asserting that Kashmiri Muslims have become more realistic and democratic in articulating their demands, though the "Kashmiri sentiment" behind that has not changed, she said the people of the state should be rewarded with the positive gestures and demanded constitution of a joint regional council having members from both sides of Kashmir and representatives of the Indian and Pakistani government.
 This can become a good model which will ensure unification of  the areas without compromising with sovereignty of countries, Mehbooba said.
 Describing Kashmir as an "emotional problem", she also made a strong pitch for Syed Ali Shah Geelani to join the dialogue process as proposed by the Centre saying it will give "more weightage" to the whole process.
 "Let's give peace a chance," she said adding that the resistance to have more confidence building measures were from both sides — New Delhi as well as from the people of valley.
 She was in the capital to take part in an all-party dialogue on Kashmir. She said there is growing consensus that there should be demilitarisation of the residential areas in the state and AFSPA should be revoked as early as possible.
 The PDP leader said there were three dimensions to the Kashmir problem — the relation between the Centre and the state, the valley's relation with other two regions in the state and the external dimension.
 She also emphasised the need for better connectivity and links with other two regions.
 She also claimed that there was an increase in the crime rate in the state after the present government has taken over as the police is being "misused".
 On the return of the Kashmiri Pandits to the valley, the PDP chief said "it was not an end of the road for them. And they have to help themselves and come back……As the state wants them and they should be ready to take risks for their motherland."

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