Srinagar, July 24
Appealing to people in Kashmir to help restore normalcy, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said the Centre wants an emotional relationship with the state and not just need-based, even as he warned Pakistan not to interfere in India's internal affairs.
Sending a strong message to Pakistan, Rajnath also said the neighbouring country should change its attitude and approach towards Kashmir.
Addressing a press conference here after winding up his two-day visit to the state after holding talks with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and several delegations both in Srinagar and Anantnag, Rajnath said the Centre will talk to whosoever needed once peace and normalcy is restored in the state.
(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)
"As far as the 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," he said, reaching out to the people in the Valley while making a fervent appeal to them to help restore peace and normalcy in the state.
Attacking Pakistan on its role in Kashmir, he said, "Its role has not been 'paak' (pure) on Kashmir. Pakistan should change its attitude and approach towards Kashmir."
Asking people to give their "constructive suggestions" to bring peace in the state, he said, "There is no need of any third force to improve the situation in Kashmir."
Singh hit out at Pakistan, which he said is itself affected by terrorism and to end it on one hand it is killing terrorists after entering the Lal Masjid, while on the other it is asking our youth in Kashmir to take to arms.
"This must stop," he said.
Appealing to the youth to not to resort to stone-pelting, Singh said he has asked the security forces to refrain from using pellet guns as much as possible even as he regretted the loss of lives.
Clashes broke out between protesters and security forces a day after the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani in an encounter on July 8 resulting in 45 deaths.
Rajnath said, "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."
He 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.
"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 also said he has asked the security forces to adopt restraint while dealing with the protesters and said that the government would review the use of pellet guns and a committee 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 Union Home Minister, who was accompanied by Union Home Secretary and Joint Secretary in his Ministry, took stock of the situation in the state which has been on the boil since past few days following violent protests that erupted in the aftermath of the killing of terrorist Burhan Wani in an encounter.
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 whosoever we want."
Asked about the suggestions of former Home Minister P Chidambaram on granting more autonomy to the state, he said, "We will look into the suggestions made by Chidambaram, once normalcy is restored in Kashmir".
He said various delegations who met him informed about the injuries to several people due to use of pellet guns by security forces and he has assured them of treatment of the injured in AIIMS in Delhi.
Singh said he talked to Union Health Minister J P Nadda and asked him to appoint a nodal officer in AIIMS to ensure the treatment of all injured in Kashmir there. He said six people are already getting treatment there.
The Home Minister said the Centre has also evolved a programme for providing employment opportunities to Kashmiri youth and engage them. — PTI