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Monday, July 25, 2016

Terrorism, 3rd party intervention on Kashmir not acceptable to India: Rajnath

‘Pakistan’s intentions about Kashmir are bad. Attacks terrorists at Lal Masjid but sends them to Kashmir with arms and ammunition’

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


SRINAGAR, Jul 24: While concluding his two-day visit to the turbulent Kashmir valley on Sunday, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh asserted that neither terrorism nor any third-party intervention on Jammu and Kashmir would be acceptable to India.

Addressing a news conference at Srinagar Airport before his departure for New Delhi, Rajnath said that the Centre and the State Government would leave no stone unturned in restoration of peace and normality in the Valley. He, however, sent a strong message across the border that New Delhi would in no circumstances compromise the country’s security and sovereignty.

“Terrorism is not acceptable to India in any circumstances. You are yourselves the victims of terrorism. To eliminate terrorists, you raided Lal Masjid. But, you are encouraging the Kashmiri youths to pick up guns. This process should be stopped”, Rajnath addressed Islamabad, almost parallel to Sartaj Aziz’s harsh response to the Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s snub to Pakistan. He said that humanity was the corner stone of Kashmiri’s faith in the Indian democracy and it would be maintained.

Asked if New Delhi would engage Kashmiri separatists and Pakistan in a dialogue for resolution of the Kashmir crisis, Rajnath said engagement and talks had no substitute in seeking a resolution and asserted that Government of India would take whatever step necessary for restoration of peace and normality in close coordination with the State Government. “Who we should talk to and who we should not talk to will be decided with the State Government after improvement in the situation”, Rajnath added. “Pakistan’s intention and role vis-à-vis Kashmir is not clean. It will have to change its thinking and attitude”, he asserted.

Rajnath said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was himself concerned about restoration of peace and normality in Kashmir and disclosed that he had spoken to him on telephone during previous night. He said that the Centre had taken certain decisions with regard to restoration of normality which were well in the knowledge of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti but would not be revealed at the press conference.

Home Minister said that the Centre had already initiated a recruitment process for J&K’s unemployed youths. He said that it would be pushed with more force and zeal in near future.

Rajnath said that during his interaction with different delegations in Srinagar, he had learned that some youths had sustained pellet injuries in their eyes. He said that six of them were already under treatment at AIIMS in New Delhi. “Our Government will make all necessary arrangements for appropriate treatment of these youths. In case they are many in number, we will take them to AIIMS by plane and provide them good treatment. I have requested Health Minister Mr Nada to appoint a nodal officer in his Ministry in New Delhi who would facilitate such patients’ travel and treatment without any hassles”, Rajnath said. He added that he had asked Chief Minister to immediately arrange such patients’ transit to New Delhi.

Significantly, Rajnath asked the Central armed forces to observe “maximum possible restraint” in dealing with the protesters and urged them to refrain from using pellet guns against the Kashmiri youths. He simultaneously made an appeal to the youths to stop pelting stones on Police and security forces. He said that as many as 2,259 civilians had sustained injuries but emphasized that 2,228 J&K Police personnel and 1,100 CRPF jawans had also been injured in the stone pelting and attacks on them by unruly crowds.

Rajnath pointed out that the same security forces personnel had come to the help and rescue of the Kashmiri people during the devastating flood of September 2014.

Home Minister said in reply to a question that mobile phone and Internet services would be restored soon in Kashmir.

Earlier, on the second day of his visit, Rajnath Singh met delegations from almost all the mainstream political parties including the National Conference’s led by former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. Only Congress turned down an invitation for a meeting with the Home Minister.

Knowledgeable sources revealed to STATE TIMES that senior officials of the Central intelligence agencies and some political conduits attempted to arrange some separatist leaders’ secret meeting with the Home Minister but did not succeed. Sources said that none of the separatist leaders was inclined to even talk to Mr Singh on telephone.

Rajnath held a separate meeting at Nehru Guest House with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and her Cabinet Ministers. He also chaired a meeting of senior officials of J&K Police and Central armed forces. Later, he flew to Anantnag along with Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh by helicopter and interacted with family members of a couple of youths killed in the firing of Police and security forces there earlier this month.

Death toll reaches 49

Meanwhile, death toll on the 16th day of continued turbulence, after militant Burhan Wani’s killing along with two more Kashmiri militants in an encounter in Kokernag area on July 8, has risen to 49. Official sources said that Constable Mudassar Ahmad Shah of Konan Bandipora, who had got critically injured in protesters’ and militants’ attack at Yaripora Kulgam on July 15, breathed his last at SKIMS. For about a week he was treated at Army’s 92 Base Hospital.

Sources said that Sameer Ahmad Wani of Khonmoh, who had sustained injuries during a clash at Pampore on July 10, succumbed at SKIMS. With his death, as many as 49 persons, including two Police personnel, have got killed in 16 days of turbulence triggered by Burhan Wani’s death in the July 8 encounter in Bamdora.


[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]

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