by Saima Bhat
Srinagar: For the first time in the recent political history of Kashmir, there was no strike call given by the separatist camps against the visit of union minister. The union minister for home affairs, Rajnath Singh said the talks will happen with the ‘right-minded’ people and they will do everything to bring peace in Kashmir.
“I would like to repeat, that no matter how many obstacles come in our way, we will not be deterred in our aim to bring lasting peace to Kashmir.” Singh, while speaking at a press conference on the first day of his two days visit to Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, said, “We are open to talks with anybody who is right-minded. Being like-minded is not important.” He said the special representative by the government of India, Dineshwar Sharma, has already visited Kashmir eleven times and is working on various issues.
He also lashed at the separatists for using the youth to propagate violence. He questioned why their own children are studying and they use other kids to play with ‘fire and stones’. “They can play any kind of politics, but they should not play with future of children.”
The union home minister also informed that around 10,000 cases of first time stone pelters, who were misled, have been taken back. “The youth of this state belong to us. These kids are not only the assets for the state but for whole India as well. We Indians respect their talent, competence and imagination.”
He said the decision of suspension of all operation in the state was taken into consideration the local people of the state. “The PM Modi took this decision after so many discussions. It was a decision taken for the feelings of the common masses.” And for continuing the ‘ceasefire’ after Ramadhan, he said that he needs to have another round of deliberations with the security grid of the State and the Chief Minister before announcing an extension to a ceasefire.
While appreciating the state government for the completion of most of the projects under PM’s Rs 80,000 package, Singh said they are doing more for the development of the state. “We have sanctioned Rs 174 crores for the restoration of police stations. Rs 500 crores have been sanctioned for high ended security weapons. The total number of SPOs around 25474 in number, their wages have been increased from Rs 3000 to Rs 6000.”
He added the centre and state are working on creating more opportunities for the youth of the state. Under CAPF, 3882 recruitments and 7302 recruitments in Indian army have been done. Five new IR battalions have been created which will provide employment to 5381 youth besides two women battalions; one each for Jammu and Kashmir will be created with 33 per cent reservation.
Singh also alleged that Pakistan wanted to destabilize India because of its “fastest growing economy.”
Meanwhile, the union home minister also held a high-level meeting at SKICC, to review the overall security situation especially since May 16 when the Centre unilaterally announced the suspension of anti-militant operations during the month of Ramadhan.
Singh is also scheduled to hold meetings with Governor N N Vohra and the Chief Minister. He will stay in Srinagar for night and tomorrow morning will travel to Kupwara where he will review some projects being undertaken as part of the Border Area Development Programme. On Friday afternoon he will visit Jammu and take stock of the situation along the International Border, where many civilians and government forces have been killed in firing by Pakistani forces.