Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today lost her cool and abruptly ended a press conference being addressed by her and union Home Minister Rajnath Singh here when journalists asked questions about her role in dealing with the current unrest. She suddenly got up, saying "thank you”, after replying to a question even as Singh was seated. He also then got up reluctantly and the press interaction at her residence ended.
They also sought clarification over her earlier remark of "only 5% of the population supporting the current agitation’’.
"I did not say it’s just 5%. All I said was 95% people in the valley want peaceful resolution to the problem. The issue has, however, been hijacked by 5% of people who believe in violence,’’ she said.
"I am for resolution of Kashmir issue. There should be dialogue. But by resorting to stone-pelting and attacking the camps, no issue will be resolved. We are not sidelining the issue. We want resolution,” she asserted.
The Chief Minister sought to explain the manner in which casualties took place, particularly of the youngsters, over which there has been uproar.
"95 per cent of those killed — mostly youth — have died in retaliatory action while they were attacking the security establishments,” she said.
She added, "People have come onto the roads. We imposed curfew. Did the children go to army camps to buy toffees (candy)? Was the 15-year-old boy, who attacked the police station at Damhal Hanjipora (in south Kashmir), going there to get milk?”
Mehbooba reacted strongly after being reminded of her criticism of Abdullah’s government for civilian killings and indefinite curfew during the 2012 unrest.
"The agitation in 2010 was about human rights violations. Machil fake encounter had happened, Shopian rape and murder case was there, a teenage boy was killed - there was a reason for the anger. Today, three militants were killed, as it has been happening for years, people came out on roads and curfew was imposed. How is the government to be blamed?’’ she asked.
Mehbooba, however, added that violence can offer no solutions to the issue in ‘today’s world’. "I am for a resolution of Kashmir but not for violence. If you want to give a cause a bad name, you resort to violence,’’ she added.
"No issue gets solved by attacking camps,’’ Mehbooba said before storming out of the press conference, she was addressing with Union home minister Rajnath Singh.
Even as the home minister tried to pacify an agitated Mehbooba, she reminded people of how she has "saved the same Kashmiri youth’’.
"I have saved them (youth) from knives, when they used to run after seeing the vehicles of task force (special counter-insurgency force), they used to be taken as bonded labourers (by army) in south Kashmir,’’ she said.
Kashmir has been on the boil after Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces on July 8. His death triggered a violence that has left 68 people dead and at least 10,000 injured.