Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday reiterated that only a handful of people were inciting violence in the region, and that 95% of the population were peace-loving. At a heated press conference, she said the unrest in the state, which followed the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8, cannot be compared to the violence in 2010, The Times of India reported.
The joint press conference with Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh ended after reporters asked the chief minister to clarify her stand on the alleged use of indiscriminate force against protesters, when she had criticised former chief minister Omar Abdullah's government for civilian killings in 2010. Mufti lost her cool and told reporters to not compare a youth setting a police station on fire with someone being shot while stepping out to buy milk. "There was a reason for [the] 2010 [incidents]. Shopian [alleged rapes by security personnel] happened. Innocents were being targeted by security officers," she said.
While Mufti reasserted her commitment to resolve the crisis in the Valley, she warned that there will be casualties if people resorted to stone-pelting and attacking camps of security forces, PTI reported. She said 95% of those killed in the violence in the past month succumbed to retaliatory firing. The chief minister also gave her assurance that action will be taken against security personnel responsible for the killing of a lecturer in Pulwama dsitrict.
Moreover, the home minister said India's future was linked to the future of Kashmir. Singh added that the Centre will appoint a nodal officer to address issues faced by Kashmiri youth. He also emphasised that they will soon introduce an alternative to pellet guns, the use of which has been widely criticised for the number of injuries thousands of protesters have suffered in the Valley.