Mehbooba adds a footnote to killings: A little more cautious, we would have saved some lives

Srinagar: After government forces killed almost hundred civilians, blinded thousands and maimed others post Burhan Wani’s killing on 8 July, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that her government would evolve a “mechanism” to probe the cases of killings, injuries and blindings of people by police and security forces, the Indian Express reported on Saturday.

Mehbooba, in her first interview after taking over as Chief Minister, said that the “basic reason” for her to be Chief Minister with BJP’s support is to achieve “reconciliation so that the (Kashmir) issue is resolved amicably”.

“The day I feel that I have failed in this purpose, I will not take even a second to give up,” she was quoted to have said in the interview. “I will instead leave politics and prefer to stay at home.’’

Calling the current quiet in the Valley a “fragile calm,” the report said, adding that the JK CM said, “We have a lot of work to build bridges and mend fences.”

“I am myself convinced that we need to do something about it (the deaths). It won’t be put under carpet…”

Mufti, in the interview, said that she wasn’t “denying that there is an issue” which needs to be resolved. However, for any reconciliation, “you need to create a conducive atmosphere…(and) there wasn’t enough time given to me so that we could create a conducive atmosphere,’’ the report added.

The Kashmir problem isn’t something that happened yesterday and will be resolved today, she told the Indian Express. “…if you feel that creating violence, creating death and destruction is the solution to the problem, you are wrong. I don’t think it is good to go for death and destruction only for the sake of keeping the problem alive. I think it is weakening the case instead. If you look at the whole world, nobody is ready to stand by violent means, the gun, no matter how genuine your case may be,” she was quoted by the report to have said.

Mufti, the report added, admitted that she was surprised by the course of events after Wani was killed.

She had a sense, she told the Indian Express, that boys would attend his funeral but “to such an extent, I had never thought.” “It was such a feeling that I can’t even express because I had never imagined that there is going to be a day when I am going to be at the helm of affairs and something like this can happen. It was a shock. I had never comprehended in my life that something like this is going to happen. I don’t have words,’’ Mufti was quoted to have said.

“At times your mind goes blank.. you are doing everything, you are imposing curfew, you are seeing to it that people don’t come out. You are talking to security guys all the time, telling them please observe restraint. You are constantly telling them, please don’t do this, please don’t do that. And again something happens and people get injured and killed. It was helplessness at that point of time.”

She said, the report continues, that she also felt angry at parents of children who joined the protests.

“I was angry. How could people allow their kids to go out in such a charged atmosphere?”

She said that at times she was angry at the state machinery too, the report added. “…when I would feel they could have been more cautious.’’

“But it is also easier said than done because when you are sitting at a place (away from the spot) and you feel why did they use this pellet gun or why did they use tear gas shell but you don’t know what is happening at that time there. While so many people were injured and killed, at the same time good number of policemen also got injured. But then I would get upset and angry because I feel police and security forces are disciplined forces and they are elders (adults). May be by being a little more cautious, we would have saved some lives,’’ she was quoted by the report to have said.

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