J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti skipped a symposium on Kashmir organised here by RSS-affiliated forums, where speakers deliberating on solutions launched a broadside against Pakistan, pushed for a harder stance on Kashmir.
Minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju, who was to be chief guest, was also absent from the event titled “Peace, People and Possibilities in Kashmir”. BJP MP Satyapal Singh, who was Mumbai police chief, and Prof. JS Rajput, the former National Council of Educational Research and Training head, were among key speakers. Two retired army generals — TN Hoon and Amin Naik — also spoke.
The event was organised by Vishwagram, a cultural forum, and RSS leader Indresh Kumar, who heads the Muslim Rashtriya Manch. The function began with a short video on Kashmir which featured an archival clip of former Pakistani military dictator Pervez Musharraf, in which he praises the Taliban and Osama bin Laden as “heroes”. Singh said: “Kashmir is not the only beautiful place? Why do we call Kashmir a paradise? It is paradise because even the smallest sesame-seed sized piece of land there is land of tirth (Hindu pilgrimage spot).” “I don’t want to say this but Hindu villages are being given Islamic names,” Singh added.
Singh called for an “iron hands in velvet gloves” policy on Kashmir. He questioned concessions to Kashmir. “If you want to go to Gulmarg, you can’t take a taxi from Jammu. You have to hire only a local taxi. You can’t buy land. What is all this?”
Former NCERT director Rajput said the focus of education should be “character building”. “I have been to Pakistan. Parents there teach hatred to children. We don’t have any control over what is taught in Kashmir. We need to check if textbooks in Kashmir indeed teach brotherhood.”
General (retired) Hoon said India could “finish Pakistan anytime”. “I am more worried about China.”