Pitching for an early start to a dialogue process with people of Kashmir, J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to seize the opportunity created by the unrest to "win the hearts" of the masses and solve their problems, the way former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee did.
Emerging from a two-hour meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh with whom she discussed the situation in the Valley, large parts of which have been under curfew for over a month now, Mehbooba said that the Modi government had a huge mandate.
"I hope that PM Modi will take this as an opportunity to initiate dialogue with people of J&K to address their problems. There is a need to take the same initiative of winning hearts of people, which was taken during Vajpayee's tenure," she said.
The meeting was called by Singh to review the situation in Kashmir and Mehbooba was asked to participate in the meeting which was attended by Defence Minister Manohar Parikar, National Security Advisor AK Doval and other senior officials of Home, Defence and Finance ministries.
Faced with difficulties in restoring normalcy in the Valley following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani on 8 July, Mehbooba said the process of dialogue with the people of Kashmir can help improve the situation.
"I believe there is a need to heal the wounds of people, to initiate dialogue with the people of J&K. These are our own people. If process of dialogue with J&K people can improve the situation in valley, we should do it," she said and added that her state could become a bridge between India and Pakistan.
The meeting took place on a day when the issue of continued curfew in the Valley echoed in Parliament with Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad raising the matter during Zero Hour and demanding a statement from the Prime Minister about the steps being taken by the government for restoring normalcy.