Emboldened by the temporary halt in the killings brought about by the unilateral ceasefire announced by the centre, the legislators from South Kashmir are heading to their respective constituencies to reconnect with the people. What is more, they claim they are being received well.
“Meeting people in large numbers had become a tough proposition for us. But the ceasefire has definitely made a redeeming difference,” says the Communist Party leader and MLA Kulgam Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami. “On Thursday, I travelled to some areas which otherwise were restive for the past two years.”
Similarly PDP legislator from Wachi constituency in Shopian Aijaz Mir said he inaugurated developmental projects and addressed a public darbar at village Zainapora.
“Holding a public darbar was long overdue,” Mir said. “I inaugurated Steel Bridge at Zainapora, 11KV Hotline at CHC Zainapora, Sub Division PHE Zainapora and Common Facility Centre Zainapora. “
Mir said that over the past three years, some areas in his constituency were a strict no-go for him.
“It is not that I had stopped visiting my constituency but there were many villages where we didn’t get security clearance,” Mir said. “There is a sense of hope on the ground after the ceasefire announcement even though south districts especially Shopian continue to remain volatile.”
The minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CA&PD) Muhammad Ashraf Mir said he visited Shopian to chair the district development board meeting on May 14, two days before the ceasefire announcement was made.
“In the past two years, governance has been a casualty in South Kashmir, even though the government has tried its best to deliver,” he said. “There is a yearning for peace in South, but at the same time there is anger also.”
Official records say 70 civilians have been killed in South Kashmir since 2017, out of which 42 were killed near the encounter sites.
Senior PDP leader and Minister for Roads and Buildings Naeem Akther said the government wants the ceasefire to last forever.
“But for that everybody has to pitch in. There has to be positivity in the discourse,” Akther told “We can’t dismiss every gesture as a non event or a cruel joke. Rejecting everything is not going to help. Stakeholders seek a resolution before a process is started. This ceasefire could become a starting point or a fresh start on Kashmir.”