SRINAGAR: Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday brought to an abrupt end a joint press conference with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh when a journalist asked her if she had swapped her role and views with her predecessor Omar Abdullah, who was ruling the state during the 2010 unrest in which 120 civilians were killed.
“Don’t mix or compare the two situations. In 2010, there was a fake encounter in Machil. Three civilians were killed. There were the rape and murder of two women in Shopian and the killing of a minor in police action in Srinagar. That means there was a reason for people to be angry.
“Today, there was an encounter in which three militants were killed. How is the government to be blamed for that?” she said, raising her voice.
“People came on 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 going there to get milk. Don’t compare both things. People had genuine anger that time,” she went on.
The chief minister, however, reiterated that only a few people are creating trouble.
“Only five per cent of the population in Kashmir is creating problem while 95 per cent want a peaceful resolution of all issues confronting Kashmir. They want peace and don’t want to pelt stones or attack Army camps and establishments,” Mehbooba told reporters in her first press interaction since the unrest broke out following the July 8 killing of militant leader Burhan Wani.
“The 95 per cent people killed in the ongoing unrest belong to poor families and those attacking security force camps belong to poor families. Pellet guns were used after security camps were attacked,” the chief minister said.
At least 69 people, including two policemen, have been killed and thousands injured in the unrest triggered by the killing of 21-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander.
“Let us differentiate between those who want a resolution of the issue through dialogue and reconciliation and those who are exploiting the young and minors to pelt stones. We have to make a difference between the two,” said Mehbooba.
As journalists continued to pose tough questions about actions by security forces, the chief minister, PDP leader, felt agitated and got up saying, “Thank you and let us have tea” even as the Home Minister was seated. And the Home Minister signalled her to keep calm several times during the press conference.