Kashmir crisis: Consider ceasefire during Ramzan, Mufti to Modi; updates

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti . Photo: PTI
Three days after a 22-year-old tourist from Tamil Nadu was killed in stone pelting in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday chaired an all-party meet on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Kashmir. After the meeting, Mufti said the Central government would be approached with a request to halt security force operations during the forthcoming holy Muslim month of Ramadan and the ensuing Amarnath Yatra. The meeting was here to work out a consensus among political parties as to what should be the best course of action to defuse the prevailing tension in Kashmir.

Briefing media persons afterwards, Mehbooba Mufti said all political parties participated in the meeting and everybody was concerned about the present situation.

"One good thing that happened today was that every party wanted the implementation of the agenda of alliance between the PDP and the BJP which is a visionary document detailing the best way to address the problems here," she said, adding that it was agreed that it was agreed that an all-party delegation would be formed after working out modalities with principal opposition party, the National Conference.

"The delegation would approach the Prime Minister to appeal him to consider the announcement of a unilateral ceasefire as was done in 2002 during the Prime Ministership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the approaching holy month of Ramadan, Eid festival and the Amarnath Yatra," she said.

The delegation would also request the Prime Minister to work out the ways and means to reach out to the people, especially the youth, here, said the Chief Minister. Ramadan begins on May 17 this year.

In addition to ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the meeting was attended by leaders of the National Conference, the Congress, the Communist Party of India-Marxist, and some independent MLAs.

National Conference leader Ali Muhammad Sagar told reporters that his party has assured the government that whatever concrete steps it takes to defuse the present volatile situation in the state would be supported by them.

Top 10 developments on Jammu and Kashmir crisis, ceasefire violation and stone-pelting

1. Parties, separatist groups, business body condemn death of tourist in Kashmir:
Leaders across the Jammu and Kashmir spectrum, including political parties and separatist groups, today condemned the death of a Chennai-based tourist who was hit by stone pelters, with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti stressing that those who picked up stones with the intent to kill had no religion.

Opposition leader Omar Abdullah lashed out at the PDP-BJP alliance and accused it of having failed to improve the security situation in the state, while the chief minister called the incident a "murder of humanity".

The angry reaction from the political parties and separatists groups came after the 22-year-old tourist, R Thirumani, died of head injuries following a stone pelting incident at Narbal on the outskirts of Srinagar city.

2. Grief-stricken relatives throng Thirumaniselvam's houseTrying hard to control their emotions, relatives and locals today gathered at the residence of a 22-year-old man, who was killed in stone-pelting in Jammu and Kashmir, to mourn the loss even as a pall of gloom descended on the locality in Chennai.

His body was brought to Chennai on Tuesday evening by a private flight with his parents accompanying it from Srinagar via Delhi.

Those in the neighbourhood described Thirumaniselvam as a 'good' man.

Some of them expressed shock over the death.

A youngster's life had been snuffed out in the hill state, they said as they gathered to pay their last respects.

ALSO READ: Chennai tourist hit in stone-pelting dies, Mehbooba meets family

3. Separatists call off strike in Kashmir: Separatists on Tuesday called off their three-day strike and asked the people of Kashmir to resume normal activities from Wednesday.

The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), however, asked people to hoist black flags to protest against the alleged civilian killings in the Valley by security forces.

"The JRL has asked the people to resume normal activities from tomorrow (Wednesday) but at the same time people from all walks of life should hoist black flags and display black arm bands to show their commitment to the movement," a spokesman of the separatist amalgam said in a statement.

4. Condition in Kashmir deteriorated in three years, says OmarFormer Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said the condition in Kashmir Valley has deteriorated in last three years.

He made this remark while commenting on a tourist's death due to stone pelting in his assembly constituency

"We are proud of our hospitality and we talk about it to the world. But, what happened is nothing but sad and shameful. Unfortunately, in last three years, the condition in Kashmir Valley has deteriorated," Abdullah told ANI.

Soon after his death, Abdullah had tweeted: "This young man from Chennai died in my constituency & while I don't support these goons, their methods or their ideology I'm deeply, deeply sorry that this happened at all & that too in an area I've been proud to represent since 2014."

In another tweet, he said, "The J&K Govt has failed, the CM has failed, the BJP-PDP alliance has failed. How much blood will have to be shed in Kashmir before the Hon PM realises the gravity of the situation in J&K? When will enough finally be enough?"


The J&K Govt has failed, the CM has failed, the BJP-PDP alliance has failed. How much blood will have to be shed in Kashmir before the Hon PM realises the gravity of the situation in J&K? When will enough finally be enough?

— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) May 7, 2018

5. CM Mehbooba Mufti meets Governor: Mehbooba Mufti called on Governor N N Vohra on Tuesday and discussed with him the situation in the state, particularly counter-terrorism operations and stone-pelting incidents, including one in which a tourist from Chennai was killed.

"During the course of their hour-and-half long meeting, the governor and chief minister discussed various important matters relating to counter-terrorist operations; continuing incidents of stone pelting; the death of a tourist and other concerns," an official spokesman said after the meeting.

He said Mehbooba and Vohra also discussed the growing radicalisation.

6. Youth's death could belast nail in Kashmir's tourism coffin: IndustryThe fragile tourism industry in Kashmir has taken another blow with the death of a tourist hit by stones, and the sector fears that the incident may further affect the already falling footfall in the troubled Valley.

The killing of the Chennai youth could be the proverbial final nail in the coffin of tourism in Kashmir, Ashfaq Siddiq, president Travel Agents Association Kashmir (TAAK), said on Wednesday.

This is a sad incident which should not have happened. Unfortunately, we feel that it will have an impact on tourist arrivals to Kashmir. I think it will be the final nail in the coffin, Siddiq told PTI.

Tourism in the state has already suffered because of prolonged periods of unrest in the Valley, hoteliers said.

7. Mehbooba calls all-party meeting to discuss situation in Kashmir: Mehbooba Mufti has called an all party meeting of the political parties to discuss the situation in the Kashmir valley.

"Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is convening an all party meeting in Srinagar tomorrow to discuss the prevailing situation with political parties across the board", an official spokesperson said.

The meeting is scheduled to be held at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) at 2 pm tomorrow (Wednesday), he said.

8. Palaniswami calls up Mehbooba, seeks help for return of 130 TN touristsA day after a 22-year-old tourist from Tamil Nadu was killed in stone pelting in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Tuesday spoke to his counterpart Mehbooba Mufti over the phone and sought her help for the safe return of 130 tourists from his state.

The chief minister, in an official release, said he had spoken to Mehbooba Mufti and sought her help for the safe return of the 130 tourists.

Condoling Tirumaniselvam's death, Palaniswami announced a solatium of Rs 300,000 to the next of kin.

The chief minister said that on his direction, Tamil Nadu House officials in New Delhi had taken all steps with the help of the Jammu and Kashmir government to bring Tirumani's body back to the state and for the safe return of the other tourists.

Tamil Nadu tourists in Jammu and Kashmir may get in touch with officials of the TN House by calling 011-24193450, 24193100 and 24193200, he said.

9. Tourist from Chennai killed in stone pelting: A 22-year-old tourist from Tamil Nadu died in Srinagar on Monday evening when a mob went on the rampage near Narbal on the outskirts of the city, police said.

Thirumani and his family were returning from Gulmarg, about 50 km from summer capital Sringar, when their vehicle was caught in stone pelting near Magam area of Budgam. A stone hit the young man on his right temple and he was rushed to the Soura Institute of Medical Sciences where he died.

The tourist was taken to the SKIMS hospital at Soura, where he succumbed to injuries, the official added.

A case was registered and investigations have been taken up in the matter, the official said.

ALSO READ: Death of TN tourist: Such incidents damage interests of people in J-K, says Tarigami

10. Death of Tamil Nadu tourist is 'murder of humanity', says Mehbooba: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti termed the death of a 22-year-old tourist whose vehicle was targeted by stone-pelters the "murder of humanity" and said the incident had rattled the mother in her.

Those who pick up stones to kill someone have no religion, an upset Mehbooba said after meeting the father of Chennai resident S Thirumani, who was holidaying in the Valley with his family and died yesterday evening at a hospital in Srinagar.

The issue would be discussed and debated on television for days and "we will be silently watching the murder of humanity, which has been unheard of in the state of Jammu and Kashmir", Mehbooba told PTI.

Saying that her head hangs in shame, the chief minister questioned the education being imparted to children.

"The mother in me is rattled about the kind of education we are imparting to our next generation," said the mother of two daughters and the first woman chief minister of the state.

Mehbooba questions role of parents: Mehbooba Mufti also questioned the role of parents and asked what they were turning their children into. "What are we teaching our children? To pick up stones and kill anyone walking on the road? This is not what our religion Islam preaches. Our religion teaches us to take care of our guests. These people or boys who pick up stones to kill someone have no religion," Mehbooba added. 

ALSO READ: Mehbooba should accept her failure to govern and step down: Omar

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