Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday asserted that the BJP-led NDA government has found a “permanent solution” to the vexed Kashmir issue but there would be no compromise on the territorial integrity of India. The Minister also ruled out inviting separatist groups for talks on Kashmir and said whoever wanted to talk “development and peace” was welcome.
“We have come up with a permanent solution to solve Kashmir. The initiative has begun. We are moving forward,” Rajnath Singh said. He was replying to a question from IANS while talking to a group of journalists on the sidelines of a BJP function to highlight achievements of the three years of the NDA government.
The Minister, however, refused to elaborate on what kind of solution the BJP government has found for Jammu and Kashmir, which is battling nearly three decades of a violent separatist campaign. Pressed further if the solution was “political in nature”, Rajnath Singh said: “It is too early to discuss it in public. I don’t want to discuss it with the media.”
Asked about the possibility of talks with Hurriyat leaders, the Minister said the government was ready for talks with all stakeholders but there would be no invitations to individuals or organisations.
“We have never said no to talks. I went there (Kashmir) last year and stayed for three days for talks with all stakeholders. Those who wanted to talk came forward. Even (Chief Minister) Mehbooba Mufti had written a letter of invitation to separatists, but…”
Rajnath Singh said Kashmir had indeed been a challenge for the government but refused to accept Opposition claims that the PDP-BJP ruling combine in the state was responsible for it.
“Kashmir has been burning and the problem is decades old,” he said. Rajnath Singh attributed recurring street unrest, increasing number of stone-pelting protests and heightened militancy related incidents to radicalisation of youth in the Kashmir Valley.
“Radicalisation is a global phenomena. We are aware of it and we will tackle it.” Asked if the central government was satisfied with the way the state administration was handling the situation in the wake of fresh trouble, the Minister said: “There is no reason to be unhappy about it.”
The Kashmir Valley has been on the boil since the April 9 Lok Sabha polls for the Srinagar parliamentary constituency when eight civilian protesters were killed in firing by security forces guarding voting stations.
The gunning down on Saturday of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sabzar Bhat has triggered widespread protests once again. Bhat was a close aide of militant ‘poster boy’ Burhan Wani, whose death last year led to months of violent unrest that left some 100 civilians dead. A top BJP leader at the function said Bhat’s “fate was written” when he picked up the gun to fight security forces and it was true about anyone who resorts to violence.
“Whoever picks arms, will be killed. They will have to die,” the BJP leader said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The BJP leader, who is also a top policy maker for the party, ruled out the possibility of talks with separatist leaders at a time when the valley was burning. “Is it possible to hold talks with those who throw stones?” he asked. Asked why not talk to the civil society in Kashmir, the BJP leader said: “Many feel that stone-pelters too are members of the (Kashmir) civil society…There can’t be talks in such an environment.”