Provoked by Mehbooba Mufti’s visits to families of slain terrorists on the eve of the general elections, the Kashmir-centric political leadership has started churning out their respective formulas to tackle militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.

It is expected that elections for the state assembly might be held simultaneously with that of the Lok Sabha.

The latest to join the chorus is the BJP backed Sajjad Lone who has demanded a policy “laced with dignity” for the return of militants in the mainstream. Lone, who is himself a former separatist, and was a minister in Mehbooba’s government from the quota of BJP, told media persons in Srinagar that the government should take steps for a dignified return of terrorists in the mainstream. However, he did not elaborate his formula.

Mehbooba has come under fire from her rivals who are also trying to placate the terrorists.

The Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) operations commander, Riyaz Naikoo, who is among the most wanted terrorists, has in a video clip asked families of killed militants to “throw Mehbooba out if she comes to their homes.” He appealed to such families not to allow her inside their homes as her hands were soaked with the blood of militants whom she got killed when she was in power.

National Conference leader, Omar Abdullah, was the first to lock horns with Mehbooba with whom he exchanged a series of sarcastic tweets on the issue.

Sympathising with terrorists at the time of elections has become a part of the electoral campaign of the Kashmir-centric political parties. Mehbooba’s father, late Mufti Sayeed, had faced criticism outside the Valley as the first thing he did after becoming the chief minister with the support of BJP in 2015 was to ‘thank the separatists and Pakistan for allowing peaceful elections in J&K.’ He did not have a word of praise for the security forces that performed their duty even in harsh weather to maintain peace during the long-stretched phase wise polling.

Top separatist, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, calls the slain terrorists “martyrs” and publicly offers tributes to them. He is never heard criticising killing of innocent civilians or policemen by terrorists.

Pakistan leadership has also been adding fuel to the fire in Kashmir.

Separatist Mirwaiz Umar Farooq appreciated the recent statement of Pakistan PM Imran Khan on Kashmir during his interaction with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey has always been a strong supporter of the right to self-determination for the people of Jammu & Kashmir and an active member of the OIC contact group on Kashmir, said the Mirwaiz.