Srinagar: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said the government wants a relationship with Kashmiris based not just on necessities, but a relationship based on emotional bonds. He also said that the Centre’s first task was restore calm and normalcy in the Kashmir Valley, and thereafter, would discuss the viability of having talks with any group.
He said that all grievances can only be solved through dialogue.
Winding up his two-day visit to Kashmir in the backdrop of widespread disturbances that has claimed 55 lives so far, Union Home Minister said security forces have been directed to refrain from using pellet guns against crowds as much as possible even as he awaits a report of a committee set up by him to look into the use of non-lethal weapons.
Addressing media here, Singh, indirectly referring to Pakistan said, “We do not need the involvement of any third party to address the situation in Kashmir.
He went on saying, “I would like to tell our neighbouring country, you yourself are affected by terrorism. You had to storm the Lal Masjid (in Islamabad) to kill terrorists, but on the other hand, you appeal to Kashmiri youth to take up arms.”
Earlier in separate memorandums submitted to Singh, pro-India parties in Kashmir, including National Conference, asked New Delhi to initiate a sustained dialogue with Pakistan as well as separatists groups in Jammu and Kashmir for evolving a consensus for a mutually acceptable solution to the political issue.
He warned that Pakistan was far from pure when it came to matters on the Indian side of Kashmir.
“They (Pakistan) are not Pak (pure) when it comes to Kashmir,” Rajnath Singh said.
To a question on whether there will be any talks with separatists, Singh said, Let normalcy and peace be restored first. We will talk to the chief minister here and we will work only after taking her into confidence. Let us first ensure that normalcy returns. Then, we will talk to whoever we want.
Singh said the Centre will talk to whosoever needed once peace and normalcy is restored in the state.
He said the government would review the use of pellet guns and a committe has already been set up by him to look into the use of non-lethal weapons which will give its report in two months.
The difference of opinion can be resolved through talks as there can be no other solution, minister said, adding, problems cannot be solved in short of span of time. Problems cannot be solved in 15 days or one month. It will take time.
If there are any differences or disapprovals, they can be resolved through talks mutually. Because, there cannot be any other solution. I feel that if there is place of Kashmiriyat in democracy, it will only be of humanity, he said, adding that the people of the entire country want that Kashmir should once again become firdaus (paradise), he said.
Expressing sympathy with those injured during the ongoing unrest in the Valley, Singh appealed to the youth to desist from indulging in stone pelting.
I appeal to the youth of Kashmir not to indulge in stone pelting and security forces should avoid use of pellet guns as far as possible, he said.
Union minister said Prime Minister Modi was concerned about the situation in Kashmir and wanted the situation to improve as soon as possible.
I am very concerned at the situation in Kashmir and our Prime Minister is also very concerned over it. Along with expressing regret over what happened here, I offer my condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives. The Prime Minister spoke to me last night and discussed the situation (in Kashmir). He also wants that the situation should improve, he said.
On revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the state, the Home Minister said whatever has to be done on the issue will be done in consultation with the state governments.
He also that the Centre has offered state Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti all assistance and help to deal with the injured persons not receiving proper medical treatment and if there was a need, they would be brought to Delhi for treatment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
Meanwhile, Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia said that the marriage of convenience between the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was not working in Jammu and Kashmir. He said the Modi government should try to win the hearts of Kashmiris, which cannot be won through financial packages.
He said there is a lack of economic development and employment opportunities for young people.
More interest needed
The Centre needs to do much more. There has to be dialogue with the people of Kashmir, the Congress partys chief whip said, adding that there is a need to create an environment of peace and tranquillity, growth and development in the state. We are willing to work together with the government in the interest of Kashmir, Scindia said.
He said an all-party delegation needed to visit the state to assess the situation.
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