Centre ready for talks; terror, dialogue can’t go on together: Rajnath Singh

Govt to provide 2.5 lakh employments, 11,000 jobs
No tinkering  with Article  35A: HM

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, Oct 23 : Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, today said that Centre is ready to hold talks with anyone including Pakistan but “terror and dialogue” can never go on simultaneously.
Singh, who was on a day’s visit to Kashmir to review security and development projects, told a press conference here this evening that Government has no problem in holding dialogue with anyone but clarified that “terror and dialogue” can’t go on together. “…there is a condition from outside. At least, they should see that Pakistan is sponsoring terrorism in India and promote terrorism also. Give us this much of assurance that there will not be any such attempt by Pakistan. Terror and dialogue, both, can never go (on) together,” he said.
The Home Minister said India made its efforts to establish friendly relations with Pakistan but they failed to take positive steps. “India has made full efforts on its part. Prime Minister, breaking all the protocols, went there and met Pakistan Prime Minister, met his family members. Why did he meet? Because Pakistan is a neighbour and our relations should be neighbourly. But from their side, they did not take any positive steps,” he said.

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When asked about worsening security situation in Kashmir, Singh said the efforts to improve situation in Jammu and Kashmir have been going on and these efforts will continue till the situation gets better and during last few months situation has improved. “The stone-pelting incidents have come down and, as per the information I have received, the recruitment of militants has also decreased in last four months,” he said.
The Home Minister when asked about holding of dialogue with separatists said the Government will talk to anyone who is willing to enter the dialogue. “Government will not shy away from talks. We have been saying this time and again, anyone who wants to talk, we are ready. Next you will ask what initiative has been taken in this regard. The initiative that is being taken I do not want to give any details about it. I want to repeat this with sincerity that those who want to talk, we will talk to all of them,” he added.
Singh said the Centre and the State Governments are working together to improve the life of people of the State and are providing 11,000 jobs in the State. “We want to engage the youth of the State in a constructive way. State Government along with the Centre has taken several initiatives in this regard. Through the Home Ministry alone, we are providing 11,000 jobs through various initiatives which will be implemented in several stages”, he said.
The Home Minister said that centre is taking steps to provide employment to nearly 2.5 lakh youth of the State. “Through various schemes of the Central Government, steps are afoot to provide employment to nearly 2.5 lakh youth of the State. Our Government will provide all assistance needed that will help the youth of the State to chart their own destiny,” he said.
Singh congratulated the State Government on the successful conduct of Urban Local Bodies’ elections in a fair and transparent manner. “Now Panchayat elections are also going to be held in the State. We discussed how the State Government can make adequate arrangements for peaceful conduct of the Panchayat polls. The holding of ULB and panchayat polls in the State is a historical step,” he said.
The Home Minister said it is for the first time that an attempt has been made to empower the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh through devolution of power. “Every Panchayat of the State will get Rs 60 lakh to Rs 70 lakh every year for carrying out development works in their respective areas. The aim of empowering these bodies is to make them autonomous so that they can resolve their issues”, he said.
Singh, who met representatives of various political parties, said he appealed to all of them to participate in the forthcoming Panchayat polls. “Biggest of problems can be faced and issues resolved through democratic means. Many problems of Jammu and Kashmir can also be addressed through democracy. I appeal to people of the State to take part in this festival of democracy,” he added.
The Home Minister said those who do not believe in democracy can never be well wishers of people’s prosperity.
When asked about boycott of National Conference and People’s Democratic Party over the issue of article 35A of the Constitution, the Home Minister said the Centre has no proposal to tinker with any Constitutional provision regarding Jammu and Kashmir. “There is no initiative by the Centre on this (Article 35-A). The provisions in the Constitution are there and the Centre has not tinkered with any of those provisions. It is difficult to answer when a non-issue is made into an issue,” he said.
Singh termed as unfortunate the death of seven civilians in a blast at the encounter site in Kulgam district on Sunday and appealed to people not to venture to such places where security forces operations are going on. “There has been an incident in Kulgam. I have been informed that some civilians have been killed in it. It is very unfortunate. I have been told that the operation had concluded and the security forces had left but some people went there and an explosion took place due to some reason. We are pained at the loss of lives,” he said.
Singh said he wanted to convey his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. “The price of a life cannot be set in monetary terms but still I announce an ex-gratia relief of Rs five lakh for each affected family,” he said.
The Home Minister said with the cooperation of people, the atmosphere of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir will end and the State will join the queue of developed States of India.
Singh also appealed people not to go near the encounter sites while the security forces’ operations are in progress. “If there is an operation by security forces, I appeal the people that they should not try to go there. The security forces do take precautions and we have repeatedly directed them to do it,” he added.
When asked about role of interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma after Governor, SP Malik, has kept doors of Raj Bhawan open for the people, Singh said he will continue in his role till talks are held.
Before the press conference at the Nehru Guest House, Singh met delegations of various political parties including National Conference, People’s Democratic Party, Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and some of people who contested ULB elections.
Meanwhile, Rajnath today announced that a new highway would be constructed in Jammu and Kashmir along the border from Kargil to Gurez.
He made this announcement at a high-level meeting convened here today to review the implementation of various developmental initiatives in the State.
Governor Satya Pal Malik, Advisors to the Governor, B B Vyas, K Vijay Kumar and Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, Union Home Secretary, Rajiv Gauba, J&K Chief Secretary, BVR Subrahmanyam, State’s Administrative Secretaries and other senior officers of the Central and the State Governments were present at the meeting.
The Union Home Minister said that the Ministry for Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH), Government of India has been asked to prepare the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the new highway taking off at Kargil in Ladakh and culminating at Gurez in district Bandipora after traversing through Machhil, Keran and Tangdhar.
He also took a detailed review of the projects being implemented under the Prime Minister’s Development Programme (PMDP), the Dal Lake Conservation programme, establishment of 5 new battalions of Indian Reserve Police (IRP) in the state, progress of capacity building of local youth under Himayat, Udaan and Prime Minister’s Kaushal Vikas Yojana, Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) for J&K students, creation of sports infrastructure and educational exchange programmes.
Rajnath reviewed the progress on relief disbursement to PoJK and West Pakistan Refugees, employment package for migrants under PMDP, BADP and construction of bunkers along the International Border and LoC. He also took a detailed review of the developmental issues of Ladakh.
The Chief Secretary sought the Union Home Minister’s intervention to get Industrial Development Package on the pattern of Northeast Industrial Development Scheme extended to J&K which has extra incentives for the entrepreneurs. He also sought a special dispensation of Rs 1724 crorefor land acquisition under PMGSY which has not been factored in from Phase-X to Phase-XII.
The Chief Secretary sought additional Rs 759 crore for Srinagar Ring Road Project and relaxation in SDRF norms for purchase of equipment.
The Home Minister separately chaired a high-level security review meeting to review the overall security scenario in the State.
Speaking at the meeting he complimented the State Administration, the police and the paramilitary forces for ensuring smooth, free and fair conduct of Urban Local Body Polls in the State.