FOLLOWING up on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s outreach to people of Jammu and Kashmir in his Independence Day speech, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said here on Sunday that he had come to the Valley with “an open heart”.
“I want support of all the youth of Kashmir, of all the people. I have come here for three days. This is the first time a Home Minister has come to Kashmir four times in a year. I will come again and again,” Singh said addressing police personnel at Anantnag in South Kashmir, the epicentre of the resurgent militancy in the Valley, on the second day of his visit to Kashmir. “I appeal to everybody, if anybody has any complaint, he should talk directly to us. I am ready to talk with an open heart. I haven’t come to Kashmir with a closed heart and mind.”
In his address to police and later to Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel, Singh praised their valour and sacrifice, and said police “had nothing to do with politics”. The speech and praise come against the backdrop of an increase in militant attacks on the J&K Police in the Valley, especially in South Kashmir, as well as criticism of the police force by a section of the BJP in the past.
“The reality is that I don’t have words to praise your valour. I pay my respect to all those who have been martyred — respect on my behalf and on the behalf of my government. I am not delivering just my message but also the message of our Prime Minister Narendra Modiji. Modiji personally praised your valour, your courage,” he said. “Your sacrifices are no ordinary sacrifices but supreme sacrifices that India will not forget.”
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) September 10, 2017
Noting that the J&K Police was at the forefront of the fight against militancy, the Union Home Minister added that its men would make Kashmir heaven again.
Singh mentioned the recent photograph of police officer Abdul Rashid’s daughter Zohra crying at his funeral. “I saw the photograph. I saw her face wet with tears. My friends, the pain stays in the heart. Only yesterday, our brave jawan Imtiyaz (Constable Imtiyaz Ahmad Mir) was also martyred,” he said. “The irony is that some terrorists who are only interested in terrorism and continuously talk about jihad, (say they will) get jannat… don’t they know that jawans of the J&K Police and CRPF want to make heaven here itself. Heaven isn’t anywhere else, if there is a heaven in India, it is Kashmir. I want to appeal to everyone, I want their contribution to make Kashmir heaven, a heaven for which it was known.”
Singh also announced several measures for the security and safety of policemen. “I know that you have nothing to do with politics. Whatever you are doing, you are doing it for safeguarding Kashmir, for safeguarding the people living here. You are not making these sacrifices for yourself, you are making these sacrifices for Kashmir, for the people of Kashmir, for the country,” he said. “We want a bullet-proof vehicle at each police station, and we have passed orders for same. The funds for this have been allocated. Our jawans should have bullet-proof jackets. For this, the funds have not just been allocated but also released. I was told that police stations need upgradation. The funds for this too have been allocated. But I believe no matter how many facilities you are provided, these are not enough.”
The Home Minister later visited the headquarters of the CRPF’s 90 Battalion and praised the courage of its personnel posted in the Valley. “We are proud of you, we all are proud of you,” Singh said.
In the evening, Singh chaired a high-level meeting in Srinagar to review the security and law and order situation in the Valley. The meeting was attended by Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, besides top officers of the state government, J&K Police, Army, paramilitary forces and officials of intelligence agencies.
Sources said officials informed the Home Minister of the “considerable success” achieved against militants recently.