Defiant Mehbooba turns down PM's plea to attend Monday's all-party meeting

      People's Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday turned down the plea of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, who had requested her to attend the all-party meet called by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday to discuss the violence in the Kashmir valley. "It was very kind of the prime minister to call me. I have deep regard for the PM. He advised us to attend the meeting. But it was painful to convey my inability to attend the meeting," said Mufti. "The situation in the Kashmir Valley is so bad that nothing at the level of the state government, that has been discredited, will help. I told the PM to excuse us. But we are looking forward to a bigger initiative from him," she added. The PDP President further said the Chief Minister was trying to hide his failures by convening such a meeting, adding that Omar Abdullah is on damage control mode and not bothered about the current situation. "I have requested the Prime Minister to lift "curbs" on the media so that they can carry out their duties," she added. Mehbooba had insisted on Saturday night that there was no point in attending the meeting, as it will serve no purpose, and said her party would boycott Monday's meeting. "Omar government has lost all credibility. We should have been consulted on the decision to deploy the army", she added. The army was deployed in Srinagar on Tuesday night following violent protests, which left three persons dead and over 70 injured. Seventeen columns conducted flag marches on Wednesday, following widespread violence in the Batmaloo and Maisuma localities. The decision to deploy the Army was taken after Omar Abdullah made a formal request to the Central Government for help in maintaining law and order in Srinagar . The situation in the valley has been tense over the past few weeks due to repeated clashes between protestors and security forces.

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