PDP chief and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti triggered a controversy on Thursday by travelling to Shopian in South Kashmir to console the family of a terrorist killed recently during an encounter with security forces.

This is her second visit to a terrorist’s family in the past one week during which she criticised the police and security forces. She had last week visited the family of a slain terrorist in Pulwama and accused the police of harassing his family. Her Thursday visit came while an encounter was going on in the neighbouring Tral where three terrorists were killed and three soldiers were injured.

With an eye on the upcoming elections and her PDP’s losing ground in the Valley, Mehbooba is probably returning to her old strategy of sympathising with families of slain terrorists. She used to visit almost every family of killed terrorist prior to the Assembly elections of 2002 when the Congress-National Conference (NC) government was in power. Her political career began by visiting families of the militants and victims which turned Southern Kashmir
as her party’s stronghold.

READ | 3 Hizbul, Jaish terrorists killed, 3 soldiers injured in Pulwama encounter

Targeting Mehbooba, her arch rival and NC chief Omar Abdullah tweeted; “She used militants by sanctioning their deaths to appease the BJP and now she uses dead militants to try to appease the voter. Just how gullible does she think people are?”

In another tweet, Omar said: “The architect of ‘Operation All-Out’, the overseer of the operations that killed hundreds of militants since 2015 is now going from one militant home to the next trying to rehabilitate a badly damaged reputation”.

After visiting the terrorist’s family, Mehbooba took to Twitter and posted: “No force or military can help us win this war with our people. Only affection of mothers and family will help reclaim our own generation in rage”.

“No mother wants her son to pick up a gun and lose his life in the prime of his youth. Therefore harassing the family is not going to help the situation. Had my initiative of ceasefire sustained many more precious lives would have been saved,” she added in another tweet.

The PDP’s official Twitter handle was uploading news reports of local papers about her visit to the killed terrorist’s family.

Reacting to Mehbooba’s statement on Sunday against “harassment” of families of slain terrorists, Governor Satya Pal Malik had asked political parties to “understand the fragile security situation in parts of Jammu and Kashmir and not to upset this through motivated statements and false allegations”.

Talking to mediapersons on the sidelines of a function in the Jammu University, the Governor said Mehbooba, daughter of “my friend” late Mufti Sayeed, was making such statements with a view on the coming elections.

During her Shopian visit, Mehbooba reiterated that security forces should not harass families of militants.

Mehbooba while taking a dig at Governor Malik, said that the security forces have been directed to harass the families of militants. “I am hopeful that police does not want to harass anyone but it seems from somewhere it is being directed,” said Mufti.

“In my tenure I had directed security forces not to harass brothers or sisters of militants. I hope that governor gives such directions to forces too,” she said while visiting the family of the slain terrorist.

On Sunday, Mehbooba visited south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, where she said she won’t allow bloodshed in south Kashmir and it won’t be made a battle ground.