There cannot be any compromise on national security, but leaders have to win the confidence of people in Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at a closed-door meeting in New Delhi on Friday.
He blamed Pakistan for the troubles of the militancy-hit state, saying: “Terrorism is the basis of tension in Kashmir and it is being supported by a neighbour.”
The government held the meeting with all parties to discuss the unrest in Kashmir Valley, which has been under rolling curfew since the killing of a popular militant leader last month.
At a press conference, home minister Rajnath Singh told reporters that the PM asked participants to “expose Pakistan’s atrocities in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Balochistan”.
Modi said India should reach out to the people of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir living in various parts of the world.
The remarks came in response to the Samajwadi Party’s demand for a discussion on PoK, a source said. Congress’ Karan Singh said PoK is an integral part of India.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley said security forces will act with restraint, but terrorism will be dealt with properly. He said the decision to call Kashmiri separatists and Hurriyat for talks will be taken based on the prevailing situation.
The government said no decision was taken on sending an all-party delegation to Kashmir. It added such a move depends of the preparedness of chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, whose Peoples Democratic Party is in an alliance with India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The National Conference, the opposition party in J-K, did not attend the meeting. Home minister Singh informed that he had invited NC leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah, who expressed inability due to the paucity of time.
Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said the government had received from the United Nations Human Rights Commission a letter seeking a visit to India.
India’s stated policy has been not to allow any country, even the UN, to interfere, Swaraj said. All parties supported her.
Close to 60 people died and thousands wounded in protests after security forces gunned down Hizbul Mujahideen commander on July 8. Kashmiris have alleged atrocities by Indian armed forces during street demonstrations, and the use of pellet guns has been under the scanner.
Pakistani leaders have criticised India over the unrest even as New Delhi accused Islamabad of interfering in New Delhi’s affairs and backing terrorism.
The government’s move to hold the all-party meeting is seen aimed at blunting the growing criticism by opposition parties.
The home minister assured that suggestions of all parties will be considered to end the unrest, CPI(M) general secretary Yechury said after the talks.
He said the Centre should do away with pellets guns and withdraw the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (Afspa), which gives security forces the right to shoot and kill suspected rebels and to arrest suspected militants without warrants in troubled areas.
“Start the dialogue process with all stakeholders. We have done it in past and we’ve to do it again,” he said.
On Tuesday, PM Modi invoked his predecessor Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s moderate vision to outline his government’s stand on dealing with the protests in Kashmir, in his first remarks on the month-long unrest.
In 2003, Vajpayee paved the way for the Centre’s first-ever talks with Kashmiri separatists and laid down three principles to deal with the region’s political crisis -- Insaaniyat (humanism), Jamhooriyat (democracy) and Kashmiriyat (Kashmir’s legacy of amity). His government initiated a dialogue process with Kashmiri separatists and political parties.