Terming local militants as "sons of the soil", PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said on Tuesday that efforts should be made to save them, adding that the Centre should initiate dialogue with the militant leadership in Jammu and Kashmir to end the "gun culture".
"Right now, talks should be held with Pakistan and separatists. Similarly, the militant leadership should also be talked to, as it is they who have the guns and only they can end the gun culture," she told reporters in Anantnag after a party function.
"I believe at some stage, talks will have to be held with Hurriyat Conference and militants as well," she said.
The former chief minister, however, said it was "too early (for talks with militants)".
Mehbooba Mufti said local militants should be prevented from walking on the path of violence.
"Right from the time I came into politics in 1996, I have been saying that local militants are sons of the soil and our maximum efforts should be to save them because they are assets. If an encounter breaks out, the two people (militants and security forces) come face to face and no one can do anything about it then," she said.
The PDP president had on Monday questioned the timing of filing of chargesheet in the 2016 JNU sedition case, in which seven Kashmiris have been named, saying the students were being used to score political points ahead of Lok Sabha elections.
"No surprises here. We are months away from the 2019 general election and like always, using Kashmiris to score extra political points with the Indian electorate has become somewhat of a pre-requisite," she had said in a series of tweets.
"Timing of the charge sheet couldn't be any more suspicious. When UPA was in power, it decided to send Afzal Guru to the gallows and to this day, J&K is paying a price," she said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
Get the latest election news, live updates and election schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on ndtv.com/elections. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the 2019 Indian general elections. Election results will be out on May 23.