J&K: Chief Minister Mufti Blames ‘Vested Interests’ For Kashmir Unrest

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Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in her first televised address to the state on Tuesday blamed “vested interests” for the current unrest in the Valley. She also appealed to parents not to allow anyone to play with their children’s future.

The Valley after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed last week and at least 32 people have died in protests since. Armories of security forces have been targeted by mobs resulting in the theft of at least 70 guns, the Times of India reported.

This raises fears of further clashes in Kashmir. Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a high-level meeting on Tuesday about the issue, which veers towards a secessionist movement.

“While certain quarters are only interested in playing politics over the dead bodies of the youth, it is the family members of these slain youth who have to live with this pain forever,” Mufti was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.

“Ironically, it is only the parents and other immediate family members of these ill-fated youth who have to live with the life-long trauma of losing their near and dear ones to this senseless violence,” Mufti added. She also said that a mechanism ensuring security and dignity to families of slain victims will be worked out.

The chief minister also assured the state that security personnel who used excessive force will be punished.

“Unfortunately some elements are hell bent upon fomenting trouble, mayhem and bloodshed in Kashmir for their vested interests and are playing with the lives of the innocent youth by instigating them to indulge in extreme violence resulting in a vicious cycle of frenzy and bloodshed,” Mufti said.

The Kashmiri chief minister acknowledged that many young people have lost their lives to violence in the state and their families were living in abject poverty. She assured her people that these issues will be addressed.

Former chief minister Omar Abdullah had earlier on Tuesday expressed discontent that the state was unrepresented at the meeting in the Centre regarding Kashmir. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after the meeting, appealed to people of the Valley to maintain peace and calm. He also extended all assistance needed.