Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s remark comes amid the longest standoff between India and China since the 1962 war in the Sikkim sector.
NEW DELHI: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi on Saturday, days after an attack on Amarnath Yatra pilgrims in the state left seven dead. Emerging out of the meeting, she called the attack an attempt to create communal tension, thanked political parties for rising above politics to support the state and pointed fingers at Pakistan.
And then, came the twist.
Ms Mufti accused China of interfering in the state’s security situation that has faced heightened terrorist activity and violent protests long-believed to be sponsored by Pakistan.
“In this battle, external forces are involved in this. There is infiltration, militants are coming from outside and their efforts are to create unrest in Jammu and Kashmir… Unfortunately, even China has started interfering,” the Chief Minister told reporters after her meeting with Mr Singh.
Ms Mufti did not elaborate on the role that China was playing. But she stressed what the state was fighting was more than “a law and order problem. “Terrorists are coming from outside,” she said.
According to the home ministry, at least 120 infiltration attempts have been made till May. About 30 terrorists have been successful at the attempt.
The Chief Minister’s reference to China’s interference comes amid a stand-off between the Indian and Chinese armies in Doklam in the Sikkim sector that has become the longest stand-off between the nuclear armed neighbours since the 1962 war.
In the half-an-hour meeting, Ms Mufti and the Home Minister discussed the steps to maintain peace in the Kashmir Valley and scale up security for Amarnath pilgrims. The Home Minister also briefed her about the all party meeting on the attack he chaired yesterday. Seven pilgrims were killed by terrorists in Anantnag district on Monday.
Four districts of the state – Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian and Anantnag – have been hit by waves of unrest since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8, 2016.
After a brief period of calm, the incidents of violence and terror strikes spiked after the April 9 by-election to the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat. The Election Commission later had to indefinitely defer elections to the Anantnag constituency slated for May 25.
Intelligence agencies had warned of an attack on the Amarnath Yatra, prompting the Home Ministry to deploy an unprecedented 200 companies of central paramilitary forces and three battalions of the Army – approximately 23,000 soldiers in all – to secure the route to the cave shrine.