Riyaz ul Khaliq
“We have clear understanding,” Rajnath replied sharply to a question from a Journalist, “don’t question our understanding.”
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, addressed a crowded media conference at latter’s Fairview residence (earlier PAPA-II) at Gupkar in Srinagar on Thursday afternoon.
The duo appealed masses to help restore normalcy in Kashmir region which is witnessing mass civil anti-India uprising since July 09, 2016. At least 69 civilians have been killed while over 8000 others have been injured by me in uniform.
After she did not hear any one responding her greetings from the media personnel, Mehbooba asked the Journalists who were waiting in the tent to respond. “Salam ka jawab to do?”
Before Singh could start, Mehbooba addressed the press saying that all those who die, or are injured “are our own”. “Rajnath Ji has visited Kashmir twice in last one month which shows Delhi is concerned about the situation.” She referred to the statement of PM on Kashmir as well.
Repeating her Jammu statement, Ms Mufti said, “it is only 5% of the total Kashmir populace which is holding hostage the rest.” This statement invited a volley of questions at the end.
“These 95% of people want solution through reconciliation, dialogue and dignity,” she asserted.
After Mehbooba stopped, Rajnath spoke. He took pauses during his brief statement about pellets and safety of Kashmiri youths in mainland India.
“It is,” he spoke in his Hindi accent impacted English language, “for the first time, I believe any Union Home Minister visited Kashmir twice in a single month.” Singh acceded that “such was the crisis” in the Valley that he had to come back after his first two-day visit.
In his address, Singh said that PM is “concerned” and is in constant touch with him over Kashmir.
He said that his government is finding alternatives to Pellet gun. “Although, in 2010, it was said that this gun will do the least damage but now voices are there that it needs to be replaced.”
According to Singh, the expert committee on the use of pellets will submit the report within three-four days.
Detailing his second visit, Singh claimed to have met ¾th of the 20 delegations which had not met him during his first two-day visit. He was responding to a question as what was the difference between his first and second trip to Kashmir.
“Around 300 people met me since Wednesday morning,” he revealed. “I had tweeted before I flew to Kashmir that under Jamhooriyat, Insaaniyat and Kashmiriyat, we are ready to welcome anyone for talks.”
Expressing his displeasure over the continuous killing of civilians in Kashmir, he said, “we are extremely saddened when we hear security forces personnel or civilians are killed.”
“We warn those who are playing with the future of our youths,” Singh said, “who are those, identify them.”
He said that India cannot think about its future “without keeping in view the future of Kashmir”. “We see future of Kashmiri youths with the future of Indian youths,” he said referring to his Lucknow speech in which he asked people across mainland India to “secure, respect, and encourage Kashmiri youths”.
He said that Home Ministry is appointing a Nodal Officer for those Kashmiris either working or studying in mainland India.
“Who is giving stones in the hands of our youths,” he asked, “they need to hold pens, books and computers.” This, he repeated the statement of PM which he had made in Madhya Pradesh before August 15 speaking for the first time on the current situation in Valley.
Singh, apparently addressing the resistance leadership of Kashmir, asked them, “will they guarantee successful future of Kashmiri youths?”
Singh was categoric and asked state government to identify “those who provoke”. “Children are children,” he added, “Kashmir Ka Future Hai To Hindustan Ka Future Hai.”
Singh revealed in the presser that Delhi is planning to send an all-party delegation to Kashmir. “But (J&K State) needs to make full preparations for that,” he maintained.
On the response by forces to mass protests, the Home Minister said, “I have come to know that Jawans (forces) are exercising maximum restraint and over 4500 of them have been injured.”
Asking media to help restore normalcy, he asked people to refresh the memories of 2014 floods and “the role of forces personnel”.
Repeating that Delhi wants development of Kashmir, Singh said, “we are recruiting and creating an all-exclusive battalion of CAPF in Kashmir while CM Mehbooba Ji has announced that 10000 SPOs will be recruited.” However, he instantly added, “this will be the only state where such mass development will take place.”
When Singh was asked whether deployment of Border Security Forces (BSF) meant CRPF had committed mistakes/created indiscipline during the current uprising, he responded, “this is not the time to create dispute.”
Singh said that Delhi was ready for dialogue. But when reporters questioned as how the talks will happen when Hurriyat Conference leaders are under arrest and whether Delhi believes Kashmir is a political problem, Singh said, “We have clear understanding.”
“How to deal with the situation and resolve the issues, we have clear understanding,” he asserted. “Don’t question our understanding.”
When asked about the role of unionists in Kashmir when in power and out of power, Singh refused to answer.