‘Need to change discourse around J&K for future generations’
There is need to “change the discourse” around Jammu and Kashmir as there is no such thing as the Kashmir issue, Union minister Jitendra Singh has said, stressing that the only “point of debate is retrieving” Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK).
The minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office said this after paying a pictorial homage to slain Jammu and Kashmir policemen and slain army officer Lt UmmerFayyaz here yesterday.
Lt Fayyaz’s Facebook page, letters during his army training days as well as the photographs of slain J&K officers MuhammedAyoubPandith, Feroz Ahmed Dar and others were on display at the event.
“There is need to change the discourse (on Jammu and Kashmir) for future generations. We have to change the agenda. There is no such issue as Kashmir issue. It is as much a part of India as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar or any other state,” he said.
“The only issue if at all is how to retrieve a part of Kashmir which is under the illegal occupation of Pakistan for the past 70 years and restore Kashmir in the same format as was handed over by Maharaja Hari Singh,” Singh said.
He underlined that the central government’s “proactive” steps in “bringing development to Kashmir, especially with respect to neutralising extremist forces.”
“The border dwellers, in spite of the hardships they face, have asked us to take strong action against cross-border shelling. We have given our forces confidence and freedom to act on the borders, and the results are for everyone to see. We have been able to neutralise many militants and foil infiltration bids. Our crackdown on militant funding in Kashmir is another step to step towards restoring normalcy in the state,” he said.
Hitting out at the past political regimes for “mishandling Kashmir”, Jammu and Kashmir deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh, who was also present on the occasion, said that the Modi government was the only “ray of hope” for the people.
“In a first, the Centre and the state government are on the same page with regard to dealing with militancy and separatism,” he said.
On questions being raised against the PDP-BJP coalition in the state, the deputy CM said that such an alliance was a “bold decision.”
“We had to leave a lot of issues dear to us for the larger interest of the state,” he said.
Jitendra Singh said that the “foreign outreach” by Prime Minister NarendraModi was “one of the major achievements” of the current dispensation at the Centre.
“Many nations that were earlier not convinced with India’s position on Kashmir have come around. It gives the country a major boost in putting forth its stand on the matter on a global platform,” he said.
Talking about the return of Kashmiri Pandits to Kashmir, the MoS said that it was imperative to “create a conducive atmosphere so that the community members return voluntarily.”
Former MP Tarun Vijay, who was also present at the event, saluted the sacrifice of civilians, policemen and army personnel who laid down their lives while battling militants. PTI