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Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Monday that some elements are hell-bent on fomenting trouble and mayhem in Kashmir for their vested interests playing with the lives of innocent youth by instigating them to indulge in violence “resulting in a vicious cycle of frenzy and bloodshed”.

She sought the wholehearted cooperation of the people in restoration of peace and normalcy in the valley to prevent further loss of precious lives and destruction of public and private properties.

Without identifying anyone, the Chief Minister, who was interacting with civil society members, said while certain quarters are only interested in playing politics over the dead bodies of youth, it is the family members of these slain youth who have to live with this pain forever.

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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,” she said.

There are hundreds of such families in Kashmir today who have lost their near and dear ones to the violence, one way or the other, and have been left at the mercy of the God, she said.

Most of these families are living in such miserable conditions that they have to even struggle for day-to-day living, she said.

Mehbooba said “while hundreds and thousands of people may be attending the funerals of the slain youth, tell me how many of these people then bother to visit these anguished families to help them out of difficult circumstances?”

The Chief Minister said the government is, however, alive to the abject condition of such distressed families and “we will try to work out a mechanism to ensure a secure and dignified living for the kith and kin of the victims of violence so that their families do not have to run from pillar to post to live a normal life.

“It is the responsibility of the Government to reach out to such families”, she added.

Mehbooba said government is taking various measures to restore calm and it needs the support of the people in this endeavour.

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“I appeal to all sections of the society including the political leaders, media, the religious heads, the business community and the prominent citizens to rise to the occasion and help the government in restoring peace and normalcy in the Kashmir in the wake of the prevailing law and order situation,” Mehbooba said.

Interacting with the representatives of civil society groups and prominent citizens at her private office here for over two hours, the Chief Minister apprised them of the initiatives being taken by the government to restore peace and normalcy and also sought their suggestions on how to bring the things back on track.

She said the police and the paramilitary forces have been asked to exercise maximum restraint to avoid loss of lives or grievous injuries.

Mehbooba said the ministers and other government functionaries have been asked to reach out to the people and work with the local civil society groups for speedy restoration of peace.

“The ministers will remain stationed at district headquarters to monitor the situation and reach out to the people.

“They (Ministers) will also monitor the day-to-day situation personally and initiate measures for return of tranquilly in respective areas in consultation with local civil society groups and prominent citizens,” she said.

Mehbooba said “my heart goes out to the families of the youth, including the civilians and the policemen, who lost their lives in the latest spate of violence.

“We have already lost a generation to bloodshed and violence, and cannot afford to live amidst prevailing political uncertainties with young boys getting killed every day,” she said.

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Pointing out that education and economy are the first casualty of the prevailing situation, the Chief Minister said “the future of our children is at stake and they won’t be able to compete with their counterparts from other parts of the State and the country because of the loss of precious time.”

She appealed to the parents not to allow anybody to play with the future of their children.

Mehbooba said the deteriorating law and order situation has also given a huge blow to the local economy which had just started picking up with encouraging tourist arrivals.

The development process has also been hit and it will take some time to get the things back on rails, she said adding peace is, however, imperative to put the things in place once again.

The Chief Minister said imposing restrictions in prevailing circumstances has become an inevitability to avoid violent protests and consequent loss of precious human lives.

“We prefer imposing restrictions rather than putting the lives of people at risk,” she said and appealed to the people for cooperation to restore peace.

“I appeal all the people to cooperate in restoration of peace for the sake of people of Kashmir and their well-being,” she said.
Referring to the problems of youth, the Chief Minister said “they are angry and I can understand their anger.

“We are looking forward to a better future for them by exploring ways and means of providing them productive employment.”

She said the problem of unemployment has critical dimensions in the state as it has the potential of impeding the peace process if not seriously and urgently addressed.

The government recognizes that there is a need to increase the economic space of the state, enhance its resource base and generate greater capacity of economy in various key sectors to meet the challenge of unemployment, she said adding tangible measures would be taken to address the concerns of the youth on account of unemployment.

The Chief Minister hailed the people of the state for extending hospitality and all kinds help to the Amarnath pilgrims and tourists, despite facing various hardships themselves.

“I salute the people of Kashmir for upholding the highest traditions of communal harmony and hospitality in the prevailing situation,” she said.

The civil society representatives included Mohammad Yasin Khan and Mohammad Iqbal Trumboo of Kashmir Economic Alliance, Mushtaq Ahmad Wani, President, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mohammad Ashraf Mir, President, Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir, Bashir Ahmad Matta and Sheikh Yousuf of Transport Welfare Association Kashmir, Omar Tramboo, Rauf Tramboo, Ghulam Hassan Parra of Trade Federation Ganderbal and representatives of various travel bodies.

[source;indianexpress]