Shun confrontation, hold reconciliation: CM to India, Pak

Instead of bunkers, there should’ve been schools, hospitals
Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Jan 14: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said today that India and Pakistan should shun confrontation and adopt reconciliation as done during the tenure of Atal Behari Vajpayee as Jammu and Kashmir was worst sufferer of “tit for tat approach’’ (Eant Ka Jawaab Pathar Se) saying the State was facing problems on the borders due to ceasefire violations, infiltration of militants, fidayeen attack and IED blasts.
She said the funds being spent on “confrontationist approach’’ can be used for giving schools, colleges, hospitals and employment opportunities to the people of border areas but instead of all this, “we are forced to give them bunkers’’, thus, taking them to past era.
Mehbooba was speaking at ‘Attestation-cum-Passing Out Parade’ of 13th BRTC batch of constables at Subsidiary Training Centre, Talwara in Reasi district.
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“Only yesterday, an Army jawan was martyred in firing (in Rajouri district), Fidayeen and IED attacks have taken place in which security personnel lost their lives, then a woman was killed in cross-firing leaving behind an infant. Only yesterday, two civilians were injured when security forces opened firing as the vehicle didn’t stop,’’ the Chief Minister said, adding it was time that top leadership of both the countries (India and Pakistan) work on Vajpayee Ji formula, who had gone to Pakistan and took assurance from Nawaz Sharief that Pakistan land will not be allowed to be misused for militants and infiltration into India.
“It was the time for reconciliation and not confrontation (between the two nations),’’ she said, adding that instead of spending huge funds on targeting each others, the funds should be used for  development…welfare of the people…employment of youth…making roads etc.
Unfortunately, the Chief Minister said, “we are proposing to give bunkers to the people of border areas. We are taking them to the past. Instead, we should have given them schools and hospitals. We are telling them that bullets will come and they have to hide in those bunkers’’.
Recently, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had approved over 14,000 individual and community bunkers for protection of dwellers living within firing and shelling range on the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border. More bunkers are proposed to be sanctioned in due course of time as Pakistan continued to engage in ceasefire violations.
Voicing concern over “unstoppable infiltration’’ of the militants on the borders, Mehbooba said: “if we kill 200 militants, 200 more are coming. Then there are fidayeen attacks, IED blasts etc, which make situation very difficult for us’’.
Mehbooba reminded Pakistan about the promise made by Nawaz Sharief with Atal Behari Vajpayee when the latter had gone to Lahore by bus as the Prime Minister to maintain peace along the borders and said the two countries should take steps to end bloodshed in the State.
“The ceasefire had worked well for nearly 10 years. The borders were peaceful,’’ she recalled and stressed for adopting the approach of Vajpayee to maintain peace on the borders as well as within the State.
She also appealed to India to give up confrontation with Pakistan, saying it was the people of the State who were suffering due to the animosity between the two nations.
“We have to restart the reconciliation process with Pakistan and you (India) have a bigger role in the process in Jammu and Kashmir,” the Chief Minister said.
She expressed hope that the Pakistan Government and its Army would extend the hand of friendship to help end the bloodshed in the State.
Mehbooba said she hoped that they understood it and “as Vajpayee used to say that we will address Kashmir on humanitarian grounds, Pakistan will extend its support to help end the bloodshed’’.
The Chief Minister asked what was the reason for the confrontation.
“A piece of land…Help in saving the lives of the people. Use the money spent on fighting for the betterment of the people and give good hospitals, schools and roads so that we can also live in peace,” she said.
“These are our challenges. These challenges were there for the last 70 years but took the shape of the gun over the last three decades,” she said demanding an end to the provocative statements from both sides.
She said Vajpayee’s statement that “we can change our friends but not neighbours” holds the key to move forward.
Mehbooba said there were a number of problems in restoring peace as without it there would be no development in the State.
Mufti listed various steps taken by her Government for the betterment of the police force, and said “The Jammu and Kashmir Police is the best force as it is faced with an extraordinary law and order situation. Your role is to pull out the State from this difficult phase and restore peace.”
The Chief Minister asked the policemen to have a humane approach while dealing with the people.
“In this challenge, you have to face your own people. A 15-year-old boy with a stone in his hand stands up to challenge your authority. What will you do? Your work is difficult and sensitive but I’m hopeful that you will meet the challenge,” she said.
Mehbooba listed a number of welfare measures taken by her Government for police including Kashmir Police Services (KPS) cadre review, promotion quota, increase in ex-gratia relief etc.
Director General of Police (DGP) Dr Shesh Pal Vaid, in his address  thanked the Chief Minister for giving nod to welfare measures for the Police Department, due to which record number of promotions was possible. He said that procurement of vehicles and safety gadgets has been made for keeping police personnel safe and secure.
Highlighting fight against drugs, Dr Vaid said that 34 drug peddlers/criminals have been booked under Public Safety Act (PSA) and a number of youth engagement programmes were organized for channelizing the energies of young people. He disclosed that 1704 Police Community Partnership Group (PCPG) meetings were organized in 2017. In all, 911 jawans passed out today from the STC Talwara.
In his welcome address, Principal STC Talwara Anil Kumar Katoch give a brief resume of the trainings imparted to the Recruit Constables. He said that special classes on human rights and crime against women were also organised.
Constable Altaf Hussain Malik was adjudged all round best trainee and was granted out of turn promotion. He was decorated with Sg.Ct.rank on the spot by the Chief Minister and the DGP.
Constable Tanveer Ahmad  and Mairaj-u-Din were declared 2nd and 3rd All Round best and were awarded with Commendation Certificate Class I along with cash reward of  Rs 10,000 and Rs 7500 respectively. Constable Bilal Akbar Bhat, Constable Imran Khan and Vinay Kumar secured Position in Indoor, Outdoor and Range classification respectively and were also awarded cash reward of Rs 7500 each along with the Commendation Certificate Class I. Parade commanders Suhail Ahmad and  Mujeer Ahmad Malik were awarded with cash reward of Rs 5000 and Rs 3000 along with Commendation Certificate.