Celebrating the country’s 70th Independence Day at Bakshee Stadium in Srinagar, she asked people to deplore violence in the Valley, "If we can't find our solution in the world's biggest democracy, we won't find it anywhere else." she said.

Mehbooba said peace was imperative for equal development of all three regions of the state.

"The fault is not with the people of Jammu and Kashmir nor is it with India. The problem has been with the leadership of the state over the years," she said.

"Encounter have taken place in past and will continue to take place. But I don't understand what was my government's fault,” she asked.

Talking about the current situation in the state, she said, "The situation in J&K, today is because of problems in nation's leadership."

"Who is responsible for this? What can I do when despite having IIMs, IITs, students who have to study have gone blind," She said.

“I have ensured that civilians are not used as human shields during anti-militancy operations. I am sad because certain elements are using our youth as a shield to fulfil there notorious designs. These elements are trying to achieve their objectives through violence,” the Chief Minister said.

“Thousands have died in the state in 1990s but what did we achieve?” Mehbooba asked.

“During the past 40 days we handed our youths to these vested interests who are using them as cannon fodder.” She said that her government needed time for healing the wounds left behind by the current violence which has left 57 people dead in the valley.

Mehbooba regretted that despite Islam’s message of hospitality, even basic hospitality was ignored during Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s recent visit to Pakistan. The Chief Minister appealed to India and Pakistan to come together and work for peace in both parts of the divided Kashmir.

“So much blood has flowed in the Jhelum and it has no capacity to bear further bloodshed,” she said.

Mehbooba said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the entire Parliament stood behind the people of Jammu and Kashmir to pull them out of the present crisis. She regretted that whenever schools were opened by the government, people came out to force their closure.

Mehbooba said the present disturbance had retarded the pace of development in the state. Members of the state council of ministers, senior civil and military officials were present during the Independence Day celebrations.

Authorities have imposed curfew in Srinagar and all other nine districts in the valley to prevent violence on the country’s 70th Independence Day celebrations.

(With Agency Inputs)

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