No plan to handover Kashmir to Army: Rajnath

Krishnanand Tripathi

Parliament Wednesday unanimously appealed to people of the Kashmir valley to restore peace and harmony even as the government expressed readiness to hold talks with moderate groups and others and decided to call an all-party meet on Friday.

Replying to the marathon 8 hour long debate in the upper house, home minister Rajnath Singh declared that there was no question of handing over Kashmir to the Army.

Home minister also promised to consider sending an all-party delegation to Kashmir, responding to demands made in the Rajya Sabha which discussed the “prevailing situation” in the valley for over six hours.

Singh, while asserting that he was speaking on behalf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said an all-party meeting will be held on Friday on the Kashmir situation. It will be attended by the Prime Minister.

While replying to the debate during which demands were made for stopping the use of pellet guns, Singh said instructions have been issued to security forces to exercise “maximum restraint” but there will be no compromise on national security and pro-Pakistan slogans on the Indian soil will not be tolerated in any case.

With regard to dialogue with Pakistan, he said any talks on Kashmir will be about the territories under the occupation of that country.

“No power on earth can snatch Kashmir from us,” he declared, while referring to letter of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the UN seeking ‘plebiscite’ in Kashmir.

At the end of the debate in which 29 members from across the political spectrum spoke, the Rajya Sabha unanimously adopted a resolution, saying: “This House expresses its serious concern over the prolonged turbulence, violence and curfew in the Kashmir valley.”

It added that the House “conveys its deep sense of anguish and concern over the loss of lives and critical injuries caused by the deteriorating situation.”

The resolution asserted that the House “is of the firm and considered view that while there cannot be any compromise on national security, it is equally an imperative that urgent steps are taken to restore order and peace for the alleviation of the sufferings of the people.”

The House “earnestly appeals to all sections of the society in Jammu and Kashmir, to work for the early restoration of normalcy and harmony and unanimously resolves to restore the confidence among the people in general and youth in particular,” it said.