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Mehbooba Mufti flays recent J&K encounters

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
Last updated on: February 24, 2006 13:52 IST
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Mehbooba Mufti, president of the People's Democratic Party and member of Lok Sabha from Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir, has questioned the manner in which the present state government has allowed unrestricted powers to the paramilitary forces which have resulted in killings of more than 10 persons in last one week alone in various incidents.

Speaking to in New Delhi, Mufti wondered why the government of Gulam Nabi Azad had abandoned the healing touch policy that was resorted by her father's government when Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was the chief minister of the state.

"When the Congress government took over power in November 2005, Sonia Gandhi, president of the Indian National Congress, had promised that the healing touch policy started by Mufti sahib would be continued. But if we look at the ground realities, then this does not seem so. In last one week alone 10 innocent persons were killed in fake encounters and this comes on the eve of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's round table conference on Saturday ( Feburary 25) in New Delhi on finding a solution to the Kashmir problem," she said.

Clearly upset with the state and the central government, Mufti said while she was talking to news has come that a woman and three children had been killed Thursday night.

Talking about the Handwara incident in which four children were killed allegedly in the crossfire between the army and militants, she said one can make a mistake at night but not in broad daylight. "You can make a mistake at night, but that happened in broad daylight? Children playing cricket were killed in the name of encounter with the militants. Stringent action should be taken against involved in the incident," she demanded.

She said the only way out is to induct 40,000-50,000 young Kashmiris into the Kashmir police and hand over the internal security to them.

Mirwaiz Umer Farooq dashed of an angry letter to the United Nations General secretary Kofi Annan pointing out to the "brutal killings" of innocent persons by the Indian security forces.

"The only solution to this problem is demilitarisation of Kashmir. Only then such killings would stop. What is worse is that the army tried to hide its shame by resorting to telling lies about the details of the incidents that led to killing of four innocent youths playing cricket in Handwara. I have written a note to the UN secretary general about the increase in such incidents," he said.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi