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Mehbooba’s different voices: Pak bashing in Delhi, conciliatory in Kashmir

While she was in Delhi, J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday attacked Pakistan and separatist leaders for inciting trouble in the state, but later in Srinagar her tone and tenor changed.

During her meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, Mehbooba lashed out at Pakistan – in a first for the fiery woman Kashmiri politician known for her soft spot towards Islamabad.

But after she reached Srinagar, her office issued a statement giving a more placatory picture.

The statement said during her talks with Modi, Mehbooba was said to have advocated a “reconciliatory” approach towards separatists as well as Pakistan for peace in Kashmir.

“Mehbooba outlined a three-pronged action plan before the Prime Minister for the resolution of the Kashmir issue, including involvement of separatists and Pakistan in substantive dialogue, to work out a solution to the problem in light of the contemporary geopolitical realities,” the statement quoted the Chief Minister as saying.

However, when she addressed the media in Delhi after her 45-minute meeting with Modi, she came out strongly against Pakistan accusing it of creating the ongoing trouble in Kashmir where people seething with anger have been persistently holding violent anti-government protests for the past 50 days.

At least 71 persons – including two policemen – have been killed since the July 8 killing of pro-Pakistan Hizbul Mujahideen’s Kashmir commander Burhan Wani.

“I want to tell Pakistan, if it has any sympathy for Kashmiris, it should stop provoking (Kashmiris) to attack police stations,” she said in Delhi, asking Islamabad to mend its ways and stop triggering violence and causing deaths in the valley.

But the statement issued in Srinagar said that Mehbooba spoke about “the reconciliation and resolution process with a fresh resolve”, urging Modi “to take bold political initiatives on Kashmir as was done by (his predecessor) Vajpayee”.

She stressed on “the need for initiating a credible and meaningful political action on the ground to make peace and stability a reality in the state” and invited the separatist Hurriyat Conference for “a meaningful dialogue process for the peaceful resolution” of the Kashmir issue.

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