Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has said that she would have given Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani “a chance had she known he was trapped in the encounter”.
On being asked that had the government known about Wani’s presence, what would have been its action, she said, “Had the security forces known about Wani’s presence inside the house in Kokernag area of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district, it would have been possible to keep the situation “from turning to what it is today.”
“I feel if they knew, perhaps we would not have such a situation when the overall situation in the state was improving,” she said.
“(Former Chief Minister) Omar Abdullah knew in advance when (Parliament attack convict) Afzal Guru was hanged and made elaborate security arrangements. We were taken unawares this time. We imposed curfew and that was violated,” she said while calling for an end to the use of pellet guns.
After a gunfight, Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani (22), the architect of the social-media driven psychological warfare in Kashmir, was killed along with two other militants in an encounter in Anantnag district on July 8.
Wani’s killing unleashed a spate of violence in the Kashmir Valley. Nearly 50 people have died; 5,000 people were injured, out of which 3,000 were security force personnel.
Mufti also said that sacrifices of those people killed in the police, paramilitary CRPF and the army action since July 8 will not go in vain.
The Chief Minister also called upon the country’s political leadership, especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to make a renewed effort towards the resolution of J&K’s problems by engaging all the stakeholders.
“I am sure the country’s political leadership will pick up the threads and carry forward the reconciliation and resolution process started by Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2003,” she said.
The chief minister also said that the violence was doing incalculable damage to the image of the state as also to its vital economic and social interests, including tourism and education.
Mehbooba called for introspection and said why such horrible situations always cropped up in Kashmir when the economic activity started picking up along with encouraging tourist arrivals.