Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday appealed to the youth of Jammu and Kashmir to choose progress over destruction. On a two-day visit to the state to review the security situation amid an ongoing Ramzan ceasefire, Singh asserted that the Centre will change the "face and fate" of Jammu and Kashmir.
Speaking in Srinagar at the Jammu and Kashmir Sports Conclave 2018, the home minister said the central government understands the reality of Kashmir. "Sports can bring a change in your lives," he said. "Children can be misguided easily, but we know the truth, which is why we have withdrawn all stone-pelting cases against them."
He mentioned how the Government of India was working on initiatives, including providing employment to the youth. "We will help the youth be recruited in the armed forces," Singh said. "The Centre will help the youth of Jammu and Kashmir find their way. With everyone's help, we will change the face and fate of Jammu and Kashmir."
Singh also praised the youth of Jammu and Kashmir for their potential. "They have a lot to offer, but they are now in the dark," the home minister said. "I promise you that the central and state governments will change this. It is the responsibility of all of us to secure their future."
He urged the youth to not indulge in any kind of wrongdoings in the Valley. "I want to appeal that if you have to choose between tabahi (destruction) and tarakki (progress), hold on to progress and nothing will stop you," Singh said. "No force can stop this new dawn from coming to Jammu and Kashmir."
At the same event, Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti said children from Jammu and Kashmir "should also be given an atmosphere and opportunity to develop like those from other parts of the country", so that stone-pelting, bombing and the use of guns stop and "these children get a chance to grow".
The chief minister is likely to host Singh at an Iftar party on Thursday evening.
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) June 7, 2018
During his trip, Singh will hold meetings with Mufti, Governor NN Vohra and security and intelligence officials to decide on whether to extend the ceasefire beyond the Muslim month of fasting, which ends on 15 June. He will also review the implementation of various centrally-sponsored developmental programmes.
While the state government wants the Ramzan ceasefire, which militants have flouted, to be extended beyond Eid, IANS quoted sources as saying that field commanders of the Indian Army have argued how militants were being able to regroup and recruit boys with the hostilities ceased from only one side.
Talks with separatist leaders
Discussing the response of separatist leaders on the offer to hold talks will also be high on the home minister's agenda. He said the central government was ready to talk to everyone, including the separatists. Earlier, Bharatiya Janata Party National General Secretary Ram Madhav had also appealed to separatist leaders to engage in a meaningful dialogue and end the Kashmir conflict.
Separatist leaders in Jammu and Kashmir have been demanding clarity about the offer to hold talks to ensure that their engagement yield results. However, a Muzaffarabad-based conglomerate of armed groups, the United Jehad Council, has hit the brakes on any possibility of such dialogue. A statement it issued a few weeks ago said it would allow any talks to be held only once India accepted Kashmir as a disputed territory.
On the second day of his visit, Singh will review the security along the international border in Jammu and also discuss the situation of border residents migrating each time Pakistan violates the ceasefire.
Union home ministry spokesperson Bhara Bhushan Babu said on Twitter that in Srinagar, Singh addressed more than 4,000 sportspersons and youth present at the event in Srinagar. Besides the chief minister, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh was also present at the conclave.
With inputs from IANS
Updated Date: Jun 07, 2018 14:22 PM