SRINAGAR: Expressing concern over the spate of killings in cross-border shelling by Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday spoke about setting up Border Bhavan where people living closer to the border areas will be able to stay during incidents of ceasefire violation.
"All countries are coming together to achieve peace. But, I don't know when we (India and Pakistan) will achieve peace. We are working on forming an exclusive Border battalion in which people living closer to border areas will be included," Mufti told news agency ANI.
The Chief Minister called for an immediate cessation of hostilities to safeguard the lives of the people. Condemning Pakistan for the prevailing situation along the borders, Mufti assured employment to the family members of those who lost their lives in recent ceasefire violations.
"We thought in the month of Ramzan, Pakistan would not indulge in ceasefire violations. We are discussing to make Border Bhavan so that at the time of such incidents, people can come and live there. We'll give jobs to family members of those who lost their lives in recent violations," she added.
Earlier today, Chief of the Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat, said that Pakistan needs to take initiative to establish peace along the India-Pakistan border by stopping infiltration.
"We want peace at borders but as you know Pakistan continuously violates ceasefire that causes loss of life and property and in such a case we have to retaliate. But if Pakistan wants peace, we expect them to take initiative, which will start with them stopping infiltration," General Rawat said in Pahalgam.
Mufti had earlier demanded a unilateral ceasefire by security forces during Ramzan and Amarnath yatra in the state. But the Centre was initially not too keen on offering an olive branch to the 'terror groups' pointing out that the situation in the state was not conducive for a ceasefire and such an exercise undertaken in 2000 had not given the desired results.
Earlier this month, the Home Ministry announced that the security personnel would halt operations against militants in the state during the month of Ramzan.
The Ministry, however, clarified that the security forces retain the right to strike if attacked or if civilians are found to be in danger.
But there has been no let-up in ceasefire violations at the LoC, and sporadic incidents of militants striking security forces continue.
(With inputs from ANI)