With Modi at Delhi, Mehbooba Mufti ‘Hopeful’ of restoring peace in Kashmir

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Katra: Reacting to the recent killings in Handwara and Kupwara in which five civilians lost their lives, the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Tuesday expressed hope that under the leadership of the Prime Minister, Narender Modi, her government will be able to restore peace in the state.
Mehbooba was addressing a huge public gathering after the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, inaugurated Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Super-Speciality Hospital and Sports Complex, here today.
Governor, N. N. Vohra, Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Kumar Singh and Minister of State in PMO, Dr. Jatindra Singh, were also present on the occasion.
Sharing the dais with the Prime Minister for the first time after becoming the Chief Minister of the State, Mehbooba Mufti said the Central and the State governments will have to overcome the challenge and join hands to win the hearts and minds of the people, especially the youth.
Seeking cooperation of Prime Minister in addressing the issue so that no more innocent lives are lost to mindless violence, Mehbooba said. “Kashmir has witnessed several tragic incidents like Baljarala in Rajouri, Chittisinghpora in Anantnag and more recently in Handwara,’ she said. “People here have been fatally caught in the vortex of violence here and are in pain and suffering.”
She said J&K has been an epitome of plurality and cultural diversity, however, the pain and agony suffered by people of Jammu and Kashmir for the past 25 years continues to disturb her. “Time has come to end the State’s predicament and devise a new strategy that promises an era of sustainable peace and development,” she said. “If we are able to build trust among our youth, they will also be able to flourish and contribute in the growth of the country.”
Comparing India’s rise on the world stage with that of its troubled western neighbours like Pakistan and Syria, Mehbooba said there are quick lessons to be learnt from the trail of death and destruction left behind by ethnic and sectarian violence. 
“The instability in these countries is in sharp contrast to the strengthening of democratic institutions in India,” she said. “Despite being homogenous societies, these countries have been unable to stem the rot, forcing people, like in case of Syria, to seek refuge out of their homelands.” 
“I am proud to live in a nation where people from different religions live in peace and harmony but there is a pain… There is a pain in heart of Kashmir and we all have to heal it together,” she said. 
“We need to heal it so that the youth of Kashmir flourish like that in rest of the country,” Mehbooba added.
Praising India for its global rise as a ‘Knowledge Society’, the Chief Minister sought liberal financial assistance from Centre in the Higher Education segment to create enough employment opportunities to absorb our talented human resource. 
She also praised Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s vision to promote academic excellence by establishing new universities like SMVDU, Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University in Rajouri and Islamic University of Science and Technology at Awantipora. “Creating opportunities of employment for our graduating students will remain the focus of my attention,” she promised.
Mehbooba Mufti also had a word of appreciation for Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University for ably demonstrating how endowment money can be channeled back into the society by creating durable assets. “I am happy that SMVDU has become a role model for the rest of the institutes of higher learning to emulate,” she stated.
The Chief Minister described J&K as a Miniature India, chosen by Lord Shiva and Mata Vaishno Devi as their abode. She also shared some of her anecdotes with the audience by vividly remembering her frequent visits to the holy town of Katra during her college days. “It gives all of us a sense of great pride that devotees from all over the country come to J&K in droves to pay their obeisance,” she remarked.
She recalled her conversation with her late father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and said when talks for alliance between PDP and BJP were going on he had told her, “I have held the hand of a person who has been made the Prime Minister of the country by crores of people.

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