Centre ready for talks with Hurriyat: Rajnath

‘Will finish terror completely but can’t set deadline’

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, May 26: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today declared that the Centre Government is ready for talks with all stakeholders in Kashmir including Hurriyat Conference if they come forward and with Pakistan if it stops aiding and abetting terrorism and ceasefire violations as India always stands for good ties with all its neighbours. However, he made it clear that talks can’t be held with Pakistan under present circumstances.
In an interview to a national news channel on the completion of four years of Narendra Modi Government, Rajnath said the Centre was committed to defeat terrorism in all its forms and the countrymen should be assured of this. He described Ramzan ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir as a “thoughtful decision”, which will give relief to the people during the holy month but regretted that Pakistan has no sympathy for the people as it was violating ceasefire on the borders.
“Let countrymen be assured. We will defeat terrorism. We will finish it (the terror). Of course, we can’t set deadline. It can take time but it will happen,” he said pointing out that during four years of Narendra Modi Government, not even a single terror attack has taken place in any part of the country beyond Pathankot. “It’s not that the militants don’t want to carry out attacks but it was because of the efforts of the Centre that they (the militants) haven’t succeeded in carrying out the attacks”.
Rajnath said there was no confusion in the Government on terrorism and it was very clear that the terrorism has to be finished and whatever hard steps are required for it will be taken. At the same time, he added, the Government is worried about the Kashmir people. “Both Kashmir and Kashmiris are ours. All decisions will be taken in the interest of the people”.
Asserting that the Centre was ready to talk with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir including the Hurriyat Conference, Rajnath made it clear that there was nothing wrong in the talks with whosoever comes forward for it. However, he said, so far there has been no indication from them (the Hurriyat Conference) on the dialogue.
He was responding to the question on appointment of Dineshwar Sharma, former Intelligence Bureau Director, as Centre Government’s Special Representative on Jammu and Kashmir and progress made by him.
On talks with Pakistan, he said: “If Pakistan offers for talks, we will tell them to stop terrorism. If someone comes forward for talks, we will talk. But Pakistan must end aiding and abetting terrorism, infiltration and ceasefire violations. We want good friendly ties with the neighbours but Pakistan will have to mend its ways”.
Asserting that first-time stone pelters can’t be treated as terrorists, Rajnath said: “Both Kashmir and Kashmiris are ours. We have already made it clear that the youths, who might have been misled by someone to throw stones can’t be treated as terrorists and it was in this context that about 9,000 to 10,000 youths were given amnesty by the Centre Government”.
Describing Ramzan ceasefire announced by the Centre Government in Jammu and Kashmir as very “thoughtful decision”, Rajnath maintained that there were no two viewpoints in the Government and that all decisions are taken unanimously under the guidance and consent of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Ramzan is a holy month. We wanted that there should be no civilian casualties. The month is observed like a festival. However, we were expecting that Pakistan would support the ceasefire in Kashmir by stopping sponsoring infiltration attempts and other militant activities but by resorting to ceasefire violations and other terror activities, Pakistan has showed that it has no sympathy for Kashmiri people. Pakistan doesn’t want peaceful Ramzan,” Rajnath said, adding they were not anticipating that the militants would support the decision of ceasefire. “How can you expect militants to support our decision”? he asked.
He, however, clarified that ceasefire doesn’t mean that “we have tied the hands of our security forces. They can retaliate in case of a militant attack. Only a day before, there was a militant attack on security forces and they replied. Today also, five militants have been killed in Kashmir”.
Describing situation along the International Border in Jammu region as “worrisome”, the Union Home Minister said the people of border areas are “strategic assets” and a plan has been chalked out to protect them. “Whatever facilities can be provided to the border people, will be provided but we can’t guarantee that there will be no shelling from Pakistan”.
Rajnath recalled that ever since partition, Pakistan has been indulging in “unholy activities” and has recently violated the ceasefire but the truth is that our Army and Border Security Force have given very befitting reply to the neighbour, which hasn’t been reported in the media.
“Pakistan has to learn lessons. It has been promoting terrorism. It has been giving shelter to terrorists. There is now consensus among the international community on these aspects,” he said.
Responding to a question that the Union Home Ministry has achieved successes against Naxalism but not in Kashmir, Rajnath said: “Efforts were on in this direction in Kashmir also. We will speak when we get the desired results. Even today, situation in Kashmir is much better than what it used to be in 1990 when militancy was at its peak and thousands of civilians were killed. It’s not like that presently”.
To a question on when India would get Dawood Ibrahim and Hafiz Saeed, the Union Home Minister said such decisions can’t be shared publicly.


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