Rajnath talks tough as all-party delegation concludes JK visit

Rajnath talks tough as all-party delegation concludes JK visit

Says separatists don’t believe in ‘Insaniyat, Kashmiriyat’…‘dialogue door open, but JK will continue to remain India’s integral part’

On the day the visiting all-party parliamentary delegation concluded its Kashmir visit, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said J&K was and would continue to remain an “integral part” of India, but hastened to add that New Delhi was “willing to talk to everyone who wants restoration of peace” in the region. Singh also slammed resistance leaders’ refusal to meet some members of the visiting all-party parliamentary delegation on Sunday, saying their “conduct shows they do not believe in Kashmiriyat, Insaniyat and Jamhooriyat.”

“Jammu and Kashmir was, is and will always be an integral part of India,” said Singh, addressing a press conference here.

The Home Minister led an all-party delegation to Srinagar—which clearly failed to break the ice to end the ongoing Kashmir uprising—on Sunday for a two-day visit to J&K as an “initiative” by New Delhi to hold talks with all “stakeholders” for restoring normalcy in the region which has witnessed 73 killings and injuries to over 8000 civilians in forces’ action in the past 59 days. Five members of the delegation had however broken away from the team on Sunday to meet senior resistance leaders including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik. But the three leaders who are either in jail or under house arrest refused to meet the MPs.

“I want to clarify that some members of the delegation had gone to meet Hurriyat leaders. We had neither said yes, nor no. Whatever happened you know that. What I later came to know from some members of the all-party delegation (who went to meet the separatist leaders) was certainly neither Kashmiriyat nor Insaniyat (humanity). They (separatists) also don’t believe in Jamhuriyat (democracy),” the Home Minister said, making it clear that the opposition leaders had gone to meet separatists in their “individual capacity”. 

Singh, however, maintained that New Delhi was willing to “talk with everyone in Kashmir”.

“I have said this before. We are ready to talk to everyone who is interested in return of peace. Baat cheet ke liye humare darwaze he nahi, roshan daan be khule hai,” he said.

Distancing New Delhi and his party BJP from Mehbooba Mufti’s decision to invite resistance leadership in Kashmir for talks with the all-party delegation, Singh said she (Mehbooba) had also sent letters to separatists for holding talks.

“Before heading for Kashmir yesterday, I had tweeted that we are ready to talk to anyone who wants peace and normalcy in Kashmir,” he said.

Singh said the Parliament, which is “supreme Panchayat”, was “very serious” about the situation in Kashmir and hence decided to send a delegation of its members for talks.

To a question whether New Delhi would talk to Pakistan, Singh said: “First let’s talk to our own people.”

On use of pellet guns in Kashmir, he said an expert committee constituted by him to look at other options has suggested PAVA shells as an alternative.

“When I came here on July 24-25, people complained about pellet guns…I had announced to set-up a committee which will submit its report within two month. The committee submitted its report even before completion of the deadline. The committee has recommended PAVA shells as an alternative.  It will not cause any death,” he said, adding that a consignment of 1000 PAVA shells has already reached Kashmir.

The Home Minister said the Government of India and those who were part of the all-party delegation were concerned about the situation in Kashmir.

“Not only me, the entire country and the Parliament, are pained over the situation. We need cooperation of everybody (to restore peace),” he said.

He said New Delhi was fully supporting State Government in its attempt to restore peace in Kashmir.

“The State Government is also making efforts to improve the situation,” he said.

To a question whether Government of India would walk an extra mile to look at Autonomy and Self Rule options, Singh dodged the question, saying: “I don’t want to enter into debate over what people were saying earlier and what they are saying now”.

“We have taken suggestions of everybody and will do so in future if need arises,” he said.

To another query on Track-II talks, Singh said he did not wish to enter into the debate of “track one, track-two or track-three.”

He said the 26-member all-party delegation has met over 300 people since it reached Srinagar yesterday.

Stating that 26 MPs belonging to 20 parties had come here for talks as part of the delegation, he said more than “30 delegations comprising 300 members from political parties, civil society, teachers, Vice-Chancellor of Central University of Kashmir (Prof Mehraj-ud-Din Mir), fruit growers, students and intellectuals have presented their viewpoint before the delegation.”

“Everyone wants that situation must improve. I am fully confident that the situation will improve,” he said.

The Minister said to address concerns of Kashmiri youths living in different parts of India, his Ministry has appointed a nodal officer who can be approached on phone No 011-23092923, 23092885.

Meanwhile, the all-party team on Monday held discussions with several delegations before leaving for Jammu in the afternoon to meet representatives of Kashmiri Pandits among other civil society members there.

The Home Minister disagreed with the view that the mission was a failure and said the delegation had "very good interactions" with individuals and groups. The delegation would meet in Delhi and discuss the future action plan, he said.