On the concluding day of his two-day visit to the violence hit Jammu and Kashmir Home Minister Rajnath Singh made an emotional appeal to the people to help restore normalcy in the Valley.
While addressing a gathering, the Union Home Minister said the Centre wants an emotional, not a need-based relationship, with Kashmir.
“As far as Government of India is concerned, I want to make it clear that we don’t just want need-based ties, but to build an emotional relationship with Kashmir. We will talk to whosoever we need to, only after peace and normalcy is restored” said Rajnath.
Home Minister Singh made it clear that the government will not tolerate terrorism in any form and said once normalcy and peace is restored in the state, there will be further engagement with all while moving forward in resolving issues.
Rajnath met more than thirty delegations during his two-day stay in the including a government team led by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and an opposition National Conference (NC) team headed by Omar Abdullah. The Congress stayed away from deliberations with the Home Minister.
Home Minister urged security forces to avoid using pellet guns on civilians while reiterating his warning to Pakistan to refrain from interfering in India’s internal affairs.
“I appeal to the youth and security forces to not resort to violence. Pakistan’s interference in Kashmir is not acceptable”, said Singh.
Earlier in the day, the Home Minister met Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and extended all possible co-operations from the Centre. Mehbooba also proposed revoking of AFSPA on an experimental process in order to quell dissatisfaction among Kashmiris
“As far as AFSPA is concerned, we are not asking for complete withdrawal. It should be lifted on experimental basis from some places to ascertain the ground situation, ”Mehbooba Mufti, Chief Minister, J&K.
Rajnath separately met leaders of other political parties. National Conference leader and former state CM Omar Abdullah spoke of the need to find a political solution to Kashmir
In a memorandum submitted to the Home Minister, the NC asked the Centre 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.
“We have told Rajnath Singh that we must accept that Jammu and Kashmir can’t be resolved through (financial) package. It is a political problem and it should be resolved politically,” said Omar Abdullah who is a former Chief Minister of J&K
Curfew remained in force in the five most affected districts and in capital city Srinagar as a precautionary measure during the Home Ministers visit. Rajnath announced his two-day visit in the Parliament recently while discussing the issue on Kashmir in Rajya Sabha.
As many as 46 people have been killed and over 3400 others injured so far in the violent clashes in the Valley following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
Meanwhile in Delhi External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj slammed Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for saying Kashmir would be part of his country someday. Swaraj said Pakistan would not be able to achieve its objective despite its open backing of militants in Indian territories.
“India unequivocally wants to tell Nawaz Sharif that his and Pakistan’s fantasy will not be fulfilled till eternity. Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. Pakistan will never be able to turn this heaven on Earth into a haven for militants,” said the Externals Affair Minister
External Affairs Minister comments came after Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressed a public meeting and urged Kashmiris “not to forget those in Kashmir who are sacrificing their lives for their movement for freedom”.