Ready for talks with right-minded people: Rajnath in Kashmir

Srinagar, June 7 (IANS) Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday signalled to separatists to come forward for talks to solve the Kashmir issue but stopped short of extending an invitation to them even as he said the government was ready for dialogue with “right-minded” people, not necessarily like-minded.

The Home Minister began his two-day trip to the state to assess security situation in the aftermath of a unilateral and unconditional Ramadan ceasefire announced by the government.

In his fresh outreach to Kashmiris, he lavished praises on the youth of the state for their multi-faceted talent that could be channelised positively to change the “tasveer” (image) and “taqdeer” (destiny) of Jammu and Kashmir.

He said the government, ready to talk with all without any pre-conditions, won’t not be deterred in its aim to bring lasting peace to Kashmir, “no matter how many obstacles come in our way”.

“We can talk to anyone. We are open to talks with all. But talks should be for peace. For talks, you need not to speak to like-minded people but it is important to talk to right-minded people,” Rajnath Singh said here in a joint news conference with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

The Central government, he said, intended to open a dialogue in Kashmir and as such its Special Representative Dineshwar Sharma visited the state 11 times since he was appointed in October last year.

“He (Sharma) doesn’t come here on tourist trips. He meets the people of the state to find solutions to their problems. I am sticking to what I said on my first visit to Kashmir (as Home Minister) that we want talks with every section of the society to resolve their problems.”

He said the BJP government was firmly committed to solve the problems of Kashmir and not let them linger on. “We will surely find a solution to the problem of Kashmir.”

The Home Minister is in the state to review the security situation following the May 16 ceasefire announced by the Central government during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan which ends on June 15.

Amid speculations that the halt in anti-militancy operations may be extended, Rajnath Singh said the issue would be discussed with the Chief Minister before taking a final call. He said nothing could be ruled out.

The final call on the issue is likely to be taken on Friday when Rajnath Singh and his officials will meet Mehbooba Mufti, Governor N.N. Vohra and security and intelligence officials.

Since the Central government announced the ceasefire, militants have launched many hit-and-run grenade and IED attacks on security forces.

Informed sources suggested the Army commanders have argued that the cessation of hostilities from only one side was helping the militants to regroup and recruit boys.

Earlier, addressing over 3,000 boys and girls, mostly sportspersons, at the Sher-e-Kashmir Indoor Stadium here, the Home Minister said if backed by the youth of the state “no power on earth can stop us from beginning a new dawn in Kashmir”.

He said his government and the people of the country have “a lot of love for Kashmir”, asking youth of the state to bring development and prosperity.

“We will change the tasveer and the taqdeer of Jammu and Kashmir… I assure you all.

“I assure you that we will do all that we can… and even a bit extra to ensure that our brothers and sisters in Jammu and Kashmir progress with the rest of the country,” he said defending the government’s decision to withdraw about 10,000 cases against first-time stone-pelters.

Rajnath Singh said the Central government was keen to provide an opportunity to the youth of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions so that they could get employment.

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