Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Wednesday told members of the Rajya Sabha that an all-party meeting would be held on the Kashmir unrest on August 12. The meeting would also be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Singh said.
Laying the blame squarely at Pakistan’s door, Singh told the House that the J&K government is doing its best to provide basic facilities amidst the violence created by some “vested interests and misguided elements”. “Have no hesitation in saying that whatever is happening in Kashmir is sponsored by Pakistan,” said Singh in Rajya Sabha. He added that some Lashkar-e-Taiba militants are trying to threaten security personnel and their families in J&K.
Rejecting the possibility of holding talks with Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, Singh said “there is no power in the world that can take Jammu and Kashmir away from us.”
“Two weeks ago, Nawaz Sharif said that he is waiting for Kashmir to be handed over to Pakistan, he even wrote to UN Secretary General regarding this. I want to assert that no power in the world can wrest Kashmir from us. And if at all they want to have a dialogue with us, then we are ready. But it will be about Pakistan occupied Kashmir, not Kashmir,” he said.
Singh appealed to the people of Kashmir to stop a few elements from anti-national sloganeering. “Anti-national slogans against the country won’t be tolerated on Indian soil, want to appeal people in Kashmir to stop such elements,” he said.
Singh informed the House that 400 ambulances are currently operational in Kashmir despite 100 of them being damaged in stone pelting by protesters.
“I’m not saying that ppl living in Kashmir are leading a normal life, but state Govt is trying its best to provide basic facilities,” said Singh.
On the use of pellet guns to quell protests, Singh reiterated that security forces in Kashmir have been have been told to exercise “as much restraint as they can”. “I am not trying to justify the use of non lethal weapon but it has been used before,” he said. So far 4,515 security personnel and 3,356 civilian have been injured during the protests in Kashmir, Singh said.
Earlier today in the Rajya Sabha, Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad slammed PM Modi for not speaking out on the Kashmir issue in the Parliament. Initiating the debate on Kashmir, Azad said: “The Prime Minister is so close, yet so far. He comes to the complex everyday at 10 am. His room is barely a minute from both the Houses… earlier PMs would rush to the House if there was a pressing discussion on any issue, but this prime minister has not attended.”
Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar also hit out at the Modi-led government for blaming Pakistan for the problems in Kashmir.
“Kashmir is our problem, we cannot keep saying Pakistan is causing it. They will keep doing what they are doing with regard to Kashmir. The talks should continue between both the countries. And also with all leaders be it Hurriyat or Mufti ji or separatist leadership,” Aiyar said.