Rajnath meets Mehbooba in Srinagar, vows to keep open mind on Kashmir issue
Rajnath, who is here on a four-day visit, has said he was going to Jammu and Kashmir with an open mind and was willing to meet with anyone who could help in finding solutions to the Kashmir issue.india Updated: Sep 09, 2017 23:21 IST
Home minister Rajnath Singh met Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti and governor NN Vohra in Srinagar on Saturday as he began his four-day visit to the state.
The visit comes at a time when Valley is experiencing agitation against attempts to abrogate Article 35A of the constitution, which gives special rights to the permanent residents of the state, and the arrest of seven separatist leaders by the NIA in alleged terror-funding cases.
Starting his journey, Singh said in a tweet, “I am going there with an open mind and I am willing to meet anyone who will help us in finding solutions to problems facing J&K.”
Singh met Mehbooba in Srinagar and the PDP tweeted that in the meeting the need for timely implementation of the Agenda of Alliance (AoA) was recognised. The party also said that it was the AoA which “provides a definite roadmap to resolve the problems confronting the state”.
Singh also held a review meeting regarding the progress on Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) along with Mehbooba and deputy JK chief minister Nirmal Singh. The Rs 80,000-crore package for J&K, including 63 projects, was announced by the PM in November 2015.
Throughout the day, Singh also met several delegations including that of house boat owners, hotel and restaurants owners, travel agents, and youths.
To Singh’s tweet announcing his visit to the state, former chief minister and leader of the National Conference Omar Abdullah wrote: “Na golli say na gaali say, galay lagana say J&K ka masla hal ho ga. We look forward to seeing these words from Red Fort on 15th Aug acted on.”
Abdullah was referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark from the ramparts of Red Fort on August 15 this year that the Kashmir problem will be solved “neither by abuse nor bullets - it will be solved by embracing all Kashmiris”.
Valley’s joint separatist leadership -- Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik -- have meanwhile called for a complete shutdown on Sunday to protest against Singh’s visit to the state.
“By observing the strike, people of Kashmir will prove to the world community and the Indian leadership that by using military might against the people or harassing the leadership genuine and people’s movement in Kashmir cannot be crushed,” the joint statement said on Friday.
On Saturday, Malik was arrested Mirwaiz Farooq was put under house arrest ahead of the trio’s schedule to leave for Delhi to court arrest at the NIA headquarters there. Geelani continues to be under house-arrest for a long time now.
First Published: Sep 09, 2017 14:58 IST