As Valley unrest grows, Mehbooba talks of 'healing touch'

As Valley unrest grows, Mehbooba talks of 'healing touch'

Lays floral wreaths at Martyrs’ Graveyard, says ‘sad’ over civilian killings

The martyrs of July 13, 1931 scripted a new dawn in J&K’s history by laying the edifice for democracy and human dignity, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Wednesday as she laid floral wreaths and offered prayers at Martyrs’ Graveyard in old Srinagar.

July 13, 1931, she said, will always be remembered as a defining moment in the history of Jammu and Kashmir when the foundation for democracy and people’s rule was laid. “Each period of our state’s history has had its special challenges and those confronting us today are as demanding as any in the past,” she said, according to an official spokesman.

Seeking people’s support in “pulling J&K out of vortex of violence and bloodshed”, the Chief Minister said her heart is “overwhelmed with great sadness and sorrow as a result of the killings in the latest spate of violence in Kashmir.” At least 34 civilians have been killed in firing by forces in the past five days while more than 1500 are injured.

“The 27-year-long violence has left deep wounds in almost each home here and we have to jointly safeguard our state and our people from further bloodshed and destruction,” she said and added: “While my government’s immediate priority would be to reach out to the affected families with a ‘healing-touch’, in the long run a concerted effort shall have to be launched to make peace and stability a reality in Jammu and Kashmir, with youth being the focus of the Government’s welfare initiatives.”

“I need people’s support in realizing the dream of a politically emancipated, economically self-reliant and socially secure Jammu and Kashmir,” she said, adding: “I won’t let people down, despite facing a challenging task.”

Talking to media-persons on the sidelines of the wreath-laying ritual, the Chief Minister said the biggest tribute to these martyrs would be to protect J&K’s dignity and democracy “which became a reality in the state because of their huge sacrifices.”

An official spokesman said Minister for Education, Naeem Akhtar, Minister of State for Health & Medical Education, Asiea Naqash, Legislators Syed Altaf Bukhari, Ashraf Mir, Noor Muhammad Sheikh, Anjum Fazili and Muhammad Khurshid Alam, former Legislators, Rafi Ahmad Mir and Nizam-ud-Din Bhat, Director General Police, K Rajendra Kumar, Inspector General of Police Kashmir, Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani,  Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Dr Farooq Ahmad Lone and other officers of the civil and police administration were present, amid strict curfew in the area.