Centre ready for talks with Kashmiris, says Rajnath, parries question on separatists
Maintaining that the Kashmir issue cannot be solved in a "trice", Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the government was ready for talks with whichever section of Kashmiris was prepared to engage with the Centre, including the youths, but parried questions on talks with separatist groups.
He said the central government wants a permanent solution to the Kashmir problem by taking its people into confidence and is moving ahead in that direction.
"In democracy all the problems can be solved through talks. We want to evolve a solution through talks. Whoever wants to talk to us, we are completely ready for it. If some organisations of youth would like to hold talks we are ready for that. Kashmiri youths are the future of the nation," he said, addressing the media on three years of the Modi government.
Asked whether the government would engage with the Hurriyat, Singh said, "There are some forces which are working at the behest of Pakistan to mislead the Kashmiri youth for their personal benefit. It is the same Pakistan which could not save its eastern part (now Bangladesh), Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and FATA. What can Pakistan do? I can't understand what the separatists were trying to achieve by coming under the influence of this Pakistan. We will not allow them (separatists) to play with the future of Kashmiri youth."
The Home Minister said the government was keen on finding a permanent solution to the problem which has been hanging fire from 1947.
"We want a permanent solution to the Kashmir problem. Honestly speaking, we want this permanent solution by taking Kashmiri people into confidence. This problem is there since 1947. It can't be resolved in a trice (chutki mein). It will require time, but we will come out with a permanent solution. We are moving ahead in that direction," Singh said.
He said Pakistan-sponsored terrorism will be completely eliminated and an environment created that will allow people to live in peace and harmony.
Asked about the contours of the permanent solution he has been talking about of late, Singh said, "Hum kya karenge usey dekhte jaiye (What we will do, you keep watching)."
Vowing to work for the development of the state, he also urged the youths of Kashmir to stop pelting stones and join hands with the government.
"We will remove all the obstacles which comes in the way of Kashmir's future. Nature has gifted Kashmiri youths with lot of skills. This is not for stone pelting. They are the future of Kashmir. They are the future of the country," Singh said.
He said the situation in Kashmir is under control and soon it will be controlled completely.
"A total of 239 militants were neutralised during 2011-2013, while this number increased to 368 during 2015-2016," Singh said.
The senior BJP leader also claimed that after surgical strikes in September 2016 across the Line of Control, there has been a 45 per cent drop in infiltration in comparison with the period in 2016.
The Minister also listed the development works being carried out by the central government in Jammu and Kashmir. He said several steps have been taken for providing employment to the youth.