Nation should reach out to people of Kashmir: Mufti

Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Sunday said the nation should reach out to the people of the valley for gaining their confidence instead of seeking their "surrender".

Srinagar: Asking BJP stalwart LK Advani to emulate former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee`s approach on Kashmir issue, PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Sunday said the nation should reach out to the people of the valley for gaining their confidence instead of seeking their "surrender".

"The country should reach out to the highly civilized people of Kashmir with serious moves to gain their confidence rather than try to seek surrender from them or inflict defeat on them," the former chief minister said in a statement.

"Ideas have to be met with more innovative ideas to come out of dead ends," he said.

Regretting the observations made by Advani, who had expressed apprehension that the UPA government could be planning to offer a "package of concessions" to separatists, Sayeed said a "more statesmanly attitude" was expected of the former deputy prime minister, who has dealt with the Kashmir issue at a very crucial turning point.

Discounting Advani`s reported accusations about PDP providing manpower to street protests, he said, "It is unfortunate he had chosen to pick up very small talk on a big issue that is confronting the moral core of the country".

Sayeed said it was a "cruel irony" that the successor to Vajpayee and "shadow prime minister" of largest democracy in the world should have tried to reduce a "political, moral and humanitarian challenge into a stone-pelting discourse, not trying to grasp the sentiment that his own party stalwarts in the parliament acknowledged in more wholesome terms."

Senior BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi and Sushma Swaraj had termed the sentiment in Kashmir to be of `azadi`, Sayeed claimed, adding the challenge before the country is to address "that sentiment in a humane, respectful and innovative manner that our democratic system is fully capable of coming up with.

He said as an inheritor of Vajpayee legacy, Advani should have led the "insaniyat" (humanitarian) agenda of the former prime minister to build a consensus on resolution of Kashmir that had once shown dramatic results on the internal and external dimensions of the problem.

Sayeed said the political class of the country has to respond to the crisis in Kashmir that has been the creation of an "exclusive dependence on bureaucratic-security mechanism".

"All major political parties irrespective of partisan considerations need to show solidarity with the most distressed region that has to be part of country`s conscience and not just a spot on its political boundaries and a festering humanitarian sore," he added.

"The fact that there is an avowed disapproval of violence in all political expressions emanating from the state should be respected and genuine and meaningful initiative launched to resolve the issue amicably. To achieve this, a countrywide consensus needs to be built on addressing the issues in a dignified and democratic manner and taking sentiments of the people here on board," he said.