As Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Sunday, assuring her all central assistance to restore calm in the Valley, his colleague Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu questioned support in some quarters to those protesting the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
Making clear that the government will not tolerate terrorism and violence, and that Kashmir is an integral part of India on which there can be no discussion and negotiation, Naidu said: “We are really surprised that some people are trying to support the so-called protesters who are sympathising with the terrorist. He is a Hizbul Mujahideen commander, how can any Indian have sympathy for such people?”
He said the crisis in Kashmir is “not a sudden development”. “The Kashmir issue has been there for long. We also have to find a long-term solution. Terrorism and violence is not acceptable in whatever form and whoever carries it out.”
“As far as the government is concerned, we are very clear that the government will not tolerate any such activity. But you can’t have an overnight or readymade solution to such a long standing issue. The government is trying to deal with that,” he said.
“There is an elected government in the state. The central government is extending all support to the state government. Centre and state will together tackle the situation. I am confident that the situation will be brought to normalcy at the earliest,” Naidu said.
The Union Home Ministry has asked security forces to make “judicious” use of force to restore normalcy quickly. Rajnath Singh held a high-level meeting at his residence to assess the situation in Kashmir. He had multiple conversations with Mehbooba Mufti on the issue and assured all central assistance, sources said.
Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and senior officials were present at the meeting. “There was representation from the armed forces too at the meeting. Paramilitary forces have been asked to do whatever necessary to restore normalcy in the Valley. They have, however, been asked to make judicious use of force,” a source close to Rajnath Singh said.
In a series of tweets, the Home MiNister on Saturday expressed anguish over the loss of lives during the protests and appealed to Kashmiris to maintain calm.
Sources said the Amarnath Yatra, which had been suspended in the wake of the protests, resumed amid tight security. “Forces have been asked to focus on the security of the Amarnath pilgrims. There is a threat of the protests targeting the yatra. They have also been asked to ensure no harm comes to Kashmiri Pandits,” the source said.
The Centre has sent 12 companies of the CRPF to the Valley. “The 12 companies sent there have all been deployed in south Kashmir. There have been no major incidents today. And if Sunday passes off peacefully, we can hope for normalcy to return quickly,” a senior CRPF officer said.
Minister of State in PMO Jitendra Singh also hoped that the situation would soon be normal. “All of us should trust the government of India. Our Home Minister is keeping a close eye on the sequence of events and there is absolute coordination between the state government, the government of India and the security agencies. And I am sure that the situation is going to come back to normal very soon,” Singh said.
“Having said that, I will also like, through you, to reassure members of the minority Kashmiri Pandit community that they are safe. There were some incident of stone-pelting on the first day, but now all minorities are absolutely safe, well-protected. It is the collective responsibility of the government as well as the society to ensure their safety and protection,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)