Want 'emotional' relationship with people of Kashmir, says Rajnath

World Sunday 24/July/2016 20:09 PM
By: Times News Service
Want 'emotional' relationship with people of Kashmir, says Rajnath

Srinagar: Reaching out to the people in Indian-administered Kashmir, the Centre on Sunday said it wanted to have "emotional" ties with them and not a need-based relationship and expressed the willingness to talk to whosoever needed once peace and normalcy is restored in the Valley.
Winding up his two-day visit to Kashmir in the backdrop of widespread disturbances, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said security forces have been directed to refrain from using pellet guns against crowds as much as possible even as he awaits a report of a committee set up by him to look into the use of non-lethal weapons.
During his stay in the Valley, Rajnath met 30 delegations including a government team led by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and an opposition National Conference (NC) team headed by Omar Abdullah.
The Congress Party stayed away from deliberations with the Home Minister.
In a memorandum submitted to the Home Minister, the NC asked the Centre to initiate a sustained dialogue with Pakistan as well as separatists groups in Jammu and Kashmir for evolving a consensus for a mutually acceptable solution to the political issue.
Rajnath said the Centre will talk to whosoever needed once peace and normalcy is restored in the state.
To a question on whether there will be any talks with separatists, Singh said, "Let normalcy and peace be restored first. We will talk to the chief minister here and we will work only after taking her into confidence."
"Let us first ensure that normalcy returns. Then, we will talk to whoever we want."
He said the government would review the use of pellet guns and a committe has already been set up by him to look into the use of non-lethal weapons which will give its report in two months.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti asked the Centre to revoke Armed Forces Special Forces Act (AFSPA) on trial basis from selected areas as a beginning towards "winning the hearts" of people.
The chief minister said there is a need to take "bold measures to address the issue as the people of Jammu and Kashmir were our own".
Mehbooba said a start has to be made from somewhere to improve the situation in the state and suggested revocation of AFSPA from some areas, beginning with 25 to 50 police stations, as an experiment.
"As far as AFSPA is concerned, we were not saying that it should be revoked in one go. But, as a test case, on experimental basis, if it is revoked slowly and it can be seen how the situation remained in such areas.
"If the situation remained well, then it should be revoked entirely or it it can be reimplemented if you feel that militancy did not allow it to be revoked," the chief minister said.
"There are some issues like dialogue, peace process, winning hearts of people here," she said.
"I hope the Home Minister, whose statement in the Parliament was very good, he tried to reach out to the people of J-K, that has not been missed here.
Meanwhile, with a constable and a civilian succumbing to injuries on Sunday, the death toll in the ongoing unrest in Kashmir climbed to 47, while curfew remained in force in five districts of the Valley and some parts of the summer capital as a precautionary measure.
An uneasy calm prevailed in Kashmir where normal life was paralysed for the 16th consecutive day on Sunday even as security agencies braced for a march called by separatists on Monday.
"Curfew is in force in five South Kashmir districts - Anantnag, Kulgam, Kupwara, Pulwama and Shopian and eight police station areas of Srinagar city as a precautionary measure," a police official said.
While curfew has already been lifted from four districts - Bandipora, Baramulla, Budgam and Ganderbal, restrictions continue in these areas on the assembly of four or more persons, he said, adding the situation across the Valley is peaceful so far.
Constable Mudasir Ahmad and a civilian, Sameer Ahmad Wani, who were injured in clashes that erupted in the Valley following killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter on July 8, succumbed on Sunday.
Mudasir is the second policeman to die in the violent clashes.
On July 15, a mob pelted stones at police station Yaripora in Kulgam.
During the stone pelting, suspected militants hurled a grenade at the police station, resulting in injuries to six personnel including Mudasir.
Sameer Ahmad Wani, a resident of Khonmoh area of Pampore in south Kashmir's Pulwama district, was injured during the violent clashes on July 10.
He died during treatment at SKIMS Soura, a police official said.
Separatists have been spearheading the agitation and called for a march to Anantnag town on Monday.
The security grid has geared itself to ensure that the march does not take place, the police official said.
He said police and CRPF personnel, who have already been deployed in strength at vulnerable spots across the Valley, have been directed to strictly implement the curfew and restriction.
Over 5,000 civilians and security personnel have been injured in the violent clashes between protesters and security forces following Wani's killing.