JAMMU: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today promised severe punishment to those found guilty in Handwara and Kupwara incidents even as she appealed to the youths to help restore peace, saying it was a prerequisite for development in the state.
"I appeal to my people especially to the youth that wherever there is injustice, strict action would be taken and severe punishment would be given," the Chief Minister told reporters on the sidelines of an event here. She was asked about the action taken against those involved in the violence in Handwara and Kupwara that left five persons dead.
Mehbooba said that peace and tranquility in the state are a prerequisite for development and if they are absent, it is the common people who bear the burden.
"If there is peace, there will be development, happiness, tourism and people will lead a prosperous life. And if God forbid, there is no peace, our people would be the worst sufferers.
"That is why I appeal to the youth and their parents and their families that help us in restoring peace in Jammu and Kashmir so that the state can develop and the miseries of the state should go away," she said. Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh alleged that there was a conspiracy behind the recent spurt of violence in the Kashmir Valley.
"Definitely there is a conspiracy to disturb peace in areas like Kupwara and Handwara. These areas remained peaceful when there was turmoil in other parts (of the Valley).
"The anti-national elements, the anti-people elements have succeeded in creating a rumour which ultimately led to the unfortunate situation (violence)," Singh, who was also present at the event, later told reporters.
He said that the aspirations of the people would be fulfilled only when there is peace in the state and it was the duty of every person to maintain peace. "We went to Handwara with the Chief Minister and definitely tension is there. Kupwara is a peaceful area. The violence is very unfortunate. Government is ensuring that this type of situation does not arise in future," he said.
Asked what action would be taken against those responsible for the "rumour", he said, "Definitely the law will take its own course and everything shall be taken care of once peace is fully restored."
Violent protests broke out in Kashmir last Tuesday over the alleged molestation of a girl by an army soldier on Tuesday. The girl, however, has denied that she was molested.
Three persons including a woman were killed in firing by security forces on violent protesters on Tuesday while two more persons were killed in separate security forces action against protesters on Wednesday at Drugmulla and on Friday at Nathnusa.