‘Not Repelling AFSPA, Not Talking To Hurriyat’

Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Srinagar

GANDERBAL: A day after a leading human rights watchdog declared that India has neglected international obligations and its own constitution by imposing draconian laws like 

Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Kashmir, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Thursday ruled out the revocation of the controversial Act from the state saying that the situation was not conducive to do so.

“AFSPA (which gives sweeping powers to the armed forces), will continue to remain in Kashmir till it is needed in the region”, Singh told reporters here after paying obeisance at the Hindu cave shrine of Amarnath on the first day of the two month long annual Yatra. 

Rajnath Singh said that AFSPA in the state would be revoked only when the situation was conducive. “I pray to God that AFSPA is not needed anywhere in the country and stakeholders would have to cooperate in order to revoke the Act.” Singh said.

Calling for scrapping of the controversial law, London based Amnesty International on Wednesday released a damning report titled “Denied: Failures in accountability for human rights violations by security force personnel in Jammu and Kashmir. The report based on the examination of nearly 100 cases of alleged human rights abuses by security forces between 1990 and 2012 and interviews with 58 family members of the victims in 2013 called 

Earlier Mehboob Beg, a spokesman of the PDP, the alliance partner of the BJP in the state, slammed Union Minister Jitendra Singh for disfavouring withdrawal of the AFSPA.

However, the Home Minister said that stakeholders will have to cooperate in order to ensure that the act is revoked

Rajnath Singh, who was on a two day visit to the state, also ruled out the possibility of holding talks with the separatists.

“We at present have no proposal to hold dialogue with the separatist groups of Kashmir. We can listen to anyone but no anti- national activities shall be tolerated,” Singh said.

Over the reports of the contradictions between the coalition partners in Jammu and Kashmir, the home minister said that the coalition here will complete full term in office and that there are no contradictions on ground. “We are not finding any reason to believe that this government will not last its full term.”

‘Maximum possible assistance for flood victims’

Srinagar: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Thursday assured “maximum possible assistance” to the victims of the devastating floods that washed away large parts of Kashmir valley last year, leaving 300 dead and over a million affected.    

“I want to assure the state government of maximum possible assistance for relief and rehabilitation in future as well. The PM is also concerned about Jammu and Kashmir,” Singh told reporters after paying obeisance at the cave shrine of Amarnath.    

Responding to a question about the recent package of Rs. 1600 crore for flood victims, Singh said the Central government does not provide the entire assistance in one go.

“It is given in installments. We have given some (money), it should be spent first,” he said.     

The Home Minister said the Centre is very sensitive towards Jammu and Kashmir and acted quickly soon after the floods hit the state in September last year.    

“You must have seen I came to visit immediately and a day later PM also came. I think if we were not sensitive towards Jammu and Kashmir, we would not have acted so quickly.

The Prime Minister also announced a relief package immediately after the floods,” he said.     

Asked about the challenge due to inclement weather during the 59-day Amarnath yatra, Singh assured the state government of Central assistance to deal with such situation.    

“The state government must have taken necessary precautions to deal with any weather changes, if any. We have assured of any kind of Central assistance required to deal with any such situation,” Singh said.      

He expressed satisfaction over the arrangements especially security for the annual pilgrimage.      

“Shri Amarnathji yatra started today and I had decided that I will go on the first day. In fact, I came here a day earlier to review the security-related arrangements with the security officers,” Singh said.     

“I am fully confident about the security in this place. The security arrangements are good. I spoke to the yatris and they were saying that efforts have been made by the state government to make the pilgrimage smooth compared to previous years,” he said adding there was need to make it smoother in coming time. 

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