Working towards permanent solution to Kashmir issue, may take time: Rajnath Singh
The home minister said infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir dropped 45% since India struck militant bases across the Line of Control in surgical strikes last September.india Updated: Jun 03, 2017 23:09 IST
Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday reiterated the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is working towards a “permanent solution” to the seven-decade-old Kashmir issue but added it may take “some time”.
This is the second time that the home minister has spoken about a government plan to find a permanent solution to the conflict in Kashmir, which is battling decades of a violent separatist campaign, in the last few weeks.
Singh, however, refused to divulge anything else about the “permanent solution” while addressing a press conference on the completion of three years of the Narendra Modi government.
“I have said this with utmost responsibility after much thinking and deliberations. We have some plans and are working in this direction and will find a solid solution in the future. It may take some time,” Singh said when asked what he meant by a permanent solution.
Violence in the Kashmir peaked after the killing of popular Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July last year and some 100 civilians died in the ensuing unrest that continued for months. The death of eight protesters in firing by security forces during the April 9 Lok Sabha polls for the Srinagar parliamentary constituency also added fuel to the fires. The killing of Hizbul militant Sabzar Bhat last week triggered widespread protests all over again.
Singh also avoided giving a direct answer to a query about the use of the human shield in the Kashmir valley where a man was tied to an Indian Army jeep and was paraded in villages in order to stop stone-pelters and merely said the force is doing its job.
When given the example of his cabinet colleague M Venkaiah Naidu, who supported the Major Leetul Gogoi for using the man as a human shield, Singh said, “Whatever Naidu had said was correct”.
Singh also said infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir dropped 45% since India struck militant bases across the Line of Control in surgical strikes last September. At least 368 militants were killed between 2014 and 2017 as compared to 239 in 2011-13.
The government has cleared 63 projects worth Rs 80,000 crore and more than 20,000 men have been trained in the past three years, he said.
“We will bring an end to Pak-sponsored terrorism in J-K and establish peace and tranquillity in the state. The youth of Jammu and Kashmir are our youth, the youth of India, the future of India,” Singh said.
Hours before the home minister’s briefing, the National Investigation Agency carried out raids at 22 locations in Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, and Haryana to investigate alleged Pakistan-based funding for violence in the valley.
The raids, one of the most significant action on Kashmiri separatists in recent months, began after the agency turned its preliminary enquiry into a first investigation report and named separatists such as Syed Ali Shah Geelani, and Lashkar founder Hafiz Saeed as accused. Geelani, one of the most senior separatist figures, will be summoned for questioning.
On threat from the Islamic State to India, the minister said the terror outfit has not been able to gain ground here despite the presence of the world’s second largest Muslim population.
“I can say with full responsibility that despite such a large population (of Muslims), the ISIS has not been able to set foot,” he said.
Singh added that due to cooperation between central and states, security agencies have been able to nab more than 90 sympathisers of the ISIS.