J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti's visit to this border district today to meet families left grieving by the latest spurt in violence was marked by hugs, tears and a few words of sympathy for a sobbing Kashmiri mother who almost fainted as she remembered her dead son while sharing her pain.
On hearing the wails of the wan-looking pheran and hijab-clad Kupwara mother, Mehbooba Mufti broke down, pulled her across and hugged her.
Visiting the affected families in Kupwara and offering them all possible help, she said, "I am pained to see that all these victim families belong to the poorest of poor sections of the society."
Violence has only brought destruction to our state and left behind a trail of tragedies in the shape of hundreds of orphans, destitutes and widows who are living a miserable life because of lack of any institutionalised support, she said.
She said those who were "glorifying these killings" and "playing politics over the graves" of the poor youth, never bother to look back at the plight of the victims' families once the things settle down.
Whenever economic activities start picking up in Kashmir with an increase in tourist arrivals as had happened this year, several quarters with vested interests gang up toorchestrate another spate of deadly violence and push the people towards further economic deprivation, she said.
The Chief Minister stressed that violence hits every aspect of the local economy with tourism and education being main targets, an official spokesman said.
She alleged that there were reports of "educational migration" with many affluent families preferring the educational institutions outside the state for their children.
"People have to ponder over what is going on and who is getting hurt the most because of such situations. If there is peace, there will be development, tourism, employment and people will lead a happy and prosperous life," she said.
The PDP leader hailed people from various sections of the society for reaching out to the needy during the violence.
She commended the dedication of doctors, paramedical staff, nurses, ambulance drivers, community relief organisations and individuals who put in their best efforts to help the affected people.
Seeking public cooperation in restoration of normalcy in the Valley, Mehbooba appealed the youth and their parents to help the government in restoring peace.
Life in the Valley has been paralysed since July 9, a day after the Hizbul Mujahideen commander was killed in an encounter with security forces.
As many as 45 persons have been killed and over 3,400 others injured in the clashes between protesters and security forces following Wani's killing.
(With PTI inputs)