Help me restore peace, I’ll find a way for dialogue to resolve issues: Mehbooba

Srinagar: Her state limping to normalcy after nearly two months of unrest, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Gandhi Jayanti today said following the philosophy of peace and brotherhood will be the best tribute to Mahatma Gandhi by the people in the Valley.

Paying tributes to Father of the Nation, she said his philosophy of non-violence, harmonious co-existence and mutual respect will always remain relevant, more so in today’s world marred by varied political and ethnic conflicts.

She said over the years Jammu and Kashmir has suffered colossal losses in terms of precious human lives, economic dispossession, cultural disintegration and educational dis-empowerment because of the turmoil.

Mehbooba said Kashmir’s true picture is that of communal harmony and religious tolerance.

Noting that her government be given time and space to mitigate the sufferings of the people, the Chief Minister said, “We can pay greatest tribute to Gandhi Ji by adopting his philosophy of non-violence and mutual respect.”

“Help me bring back peace and I will find a way for dialogue to resolve the issues,” Mehbooba said.

She said contrary to the ideal situation of maximum resources being utilized for addressing issues like poverty alleviation and unemployment, they are getting diverted towards defence and security.

“Peace and harmony are therefore need of the hour, especially in the South Asian Region where the people are still plagued by poverty and impoverishment,” she added.

The Chief Minister said under the prevailing situation on this day we need to resolve to give peace a chance.

She said, “Violence has not achieved anything but only brought miseries to the people in terms of development, economy, business, trade, tourism and education.”

Recalling the turbulent period during the partition when Mahatma Gandhi “saw a ray of hope in Kashmir alone”, she said Kashmir’s age-old traditions of amity and brotherhood have survived several threats in the past and it would continue to uphold the virtues of a civilized society in the future also.

She said public policy must go beyond symbolism of standing for Gandhian philosophy and focus on religious harmony, equality of all religious communities and acceptance of diversity “as the basis of our nationhood which were integral to Gandhi’s way of approaching collective identity”.

“A hundred years ago, Gandhi began to move Indian society in the direction of a nationhood that was non-competitive, non-combative and non-exclusionary. Nowhere in the world was there a precedent for such nationhood,” she said.

“It is time to rediscover India as a symbol of that inclusive nationhood which forms the central pillar of the country’s present,” she said. Mehbooba said the biggest challenge the world faces today is that of violence and chaos. “Be it a large country like America or a smaller ones like Bangladesh, no one considers itself at absolute peace.”

She said, “We have forgotten values of peace and brother hood, which we need to revive and if there is any time when Gandhi Ji’s ideals and philosophy are most needed, it is now.”

With regard to the special sanitation drive, the Chief Minister lauded the work of Srinagar Municipal Corporation under the prevailing situation in the Valley.

Mufti said Gandhiji believed that cleanliness was next to godliness and this drive should help imbibe in us the habit of keeping our surroundings and cities clean.

She said specific instructions have been given to the LAWDA authorities with respect to maintaining cleanliness of the Dal Lake.

She said if we need to conserve the beauty of Srinagar city we need to conserve Dal Lake and stressed that no encroachments shall be allowed within the area and any such construction will be strictly dealt with.