Badgered by the media, Kashmir Chief Minister Mehboob Mufti gets miffed, walks out or press conference
Blames stone throwing youth for police firing
Srinagar, August 25 (PTI/Greater Kashmir): Confronted with tough questions, an angry Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti brought to an abrupt end a joint press conference with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh here on Thursday.
Singh, who was seated next to the Chief Minister on the dais, was seen making gestures to pacify Mehbooba who took on a reporter when reminded about her opposition to the use of force and locking up of separatists in 2010 when rival National Conference leader Omar Abdullah was the Chief Minister
“This is a wrong analysis. In 2010, there was a fake encounter in Machil where three civilians were killed. After that there was rape and murder allegations in Shopian…”
When other reporters wanted to chip in with supplementary questions and clarification, she shouted back “let me complete first” and continued “this time an encounter took place in which three militants were killed, how is government responsible for that?”
“People came on to the streets, we imposed curfew. Did the children go to army camps to buy toffees ? Was the 15-year-old boy, who attacked the police station at Damhal Hanjipora (in south Kashmir), going there to get milk? Don’t compare both things. People had genuine anger that time (2010),” she said.
The 2010 protests were triggered by the killing of three youths by the Indian army in a fake encounter in Machil ( North Kashmir). This case was initially handled by the Jammu and Kashmir Police who registered a case against 11 army men.
The then government led by Omar Abdullah ordered an enquiry and in record time of two months, all the 11 army personnel were charge sheeted. The case was later handled by a military court.
The army convicted seven soldiers, including two officers, and sentenced them to life imprisonment for a staged killing of three Kashmiri civilians and passing it off as an anti-militancy operation for rewards and remunerations.
In Shopian, two women, Neelofar and Aasya, were found dead and it was alleged that they had been raped and murdered.
After a thorough enquiry by the CBI, it was found that they had drowned in a stream and the allegations of rape, leveled by Mehbooba (who was Leader of Opposition), was found to be without any basis after a medical examination of one of the victims showed that she was a virgin.
On the deaths in the ongoing protests, Mehbooba said, “Today 95 per cent of those who have been killed are youngsters belonging to poor families. They were killed in retaliation for attacking security camps.The situations in 2010 and the present cannot be compared.”
She claimed that 95 per cent of people want to resolve the Kashmir issue through political means and dialogue but five per cent are resorting to violent agitation. When asked for the reasons for the prolonged curfew ( 48 days), she justified the curfew saying that miscreants are planning to make use of children and youngsters “as shields” for carrying out attacks on security forces camps.
“These miscreants want to get our children killed or blinded,” she asserted.
“I am for resolution of the Kashmir issue. There should be dialogue. But by resorting to stone-pelting and attacking the camps, no issue will be resolved. We are not sidelining the issue. We want resolution,” Mehbooba said.
A teenager was killed in Security Forces’ firing at Prichoo village in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district while 40 others were injured after the forces fired pellets and teargas shells to foil a pro-freedom rally there on Wednesday.
More than 150 people including a woman and an elderly person were injured in day-long clashes and “beating” by forces in various parts of Kashmir. The teenager was killed on the day Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh arrived on a two-day visit to Kashmir to assess the situation. The slain youth was identified as Amir Gul Mir, 18, son of Ghulam Muhamamd of Ratnipora, Pulwama.
At least 68 people have been killed in protests triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8. Over 7000 people have been injured while over 500 have sustained serious pellet injuries and many of them are on the verge of losing their eyesight.
Joint Resistance Calls for Agitation Till September 1
The joint resistance leadership on Wednesday issued a new protest calendar, asking people to continue the shutdown till September 1. People have been asked to assemble at the Eidgah in Srinagar on Friday.