The government on Friday reasserted that cross-border terrorism harboured by Pakistan is at the root of the ongoing unrest in the Kashmir valley and that no part of Kashmir, including the Pakistan occupied territory, can be negotiated upon.
"Kashmir Bharat ka abhinn ang hai (Kashmir is an integral part of India)," Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said at a press conference while briefing the media on the minutes of the all-party meet on Kashmir unrest in New Delhi.
The home minister along with his colleague Finance Minister Arun Jaitley jointly addressed the press to inform about the key take-aways from the all-party meet. All major political parties met in a four-hour-long session soon after the conclusion of Monsoon session in Delhi to discuss the ongoing Kashmir crisis.
Speaking to the press after the meet, Singh blamed Pakistan-sponsored terror groups for fueling the situation in Kashmir. However, he said that the percentage of miscreants, who are brainwashing the youth in the valley, is low. The home minister said that Kashmiris by and large want peace and believe in democracy.
He also expressed satisfaction that irrespective of the difference in approach and opinion, all parties unanimously voiced their support to resolve the current crisis. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also present in the meeting.
Singh, while quoting the Prime Minister for the press, said that there is a pressing need to expose the human rights violations in Pakistan. He said that while pointing fingers at us, Pakistan forgets that it has a habit of bombing its own citizens in Balochistan and PoK. Singh told reporters that the Ministry of External Affairs should reach out to the people of from PoK living abroad and bring to light the pathetic living conditions in the area with their help.
Apart from the unrest, the Union Minister also commented on the development plans in the valley. Singh said that the Centre has cleared an economic package of Rs 80,000 crore for the all-round development of the valley.
He pointed out that the government is following a five point agenda to address the Kashmir issue which not only targets security concerns but includes parallel action on comprehensive development to stem discontent among the people. This includes connecting the Kashmiri youth with the economic development in the valley by creating opportunities. The Home Minister said that the states will reach out to Kashmiris living in other parts of the country so that their Kashmiri brethern can witness the scope of growth and prosperity in India.
Singh said that maintaining law and order is a priority and national security cannot be compromised upon.
The government talked tough on the Pakistani interference in Indian administered Kashmir by needling the neighbouring state on the Balochistan issue. However, Jaitley clarified to the press that the Prime Minister's comment came only in the backdrop of Pakistan's repeated attempts to interference in our internal matters and did not reflect on the Indian policy on Pakistan.
Despite the show of unity among all parties and the overall attempt to infuse positivity in the Kashmir discourse, the government chose to keep mum on several core issues regarding the state.
When asked about CPM leader Sitaram Yechury's appeal to send an all-party delegation to reach out to the people, Jaitley said that the government is yet to take a decision on the issue. Similarly, the ministers deflected questions on imposing a ban on the use of pellet guns for crowd control.
Jaitley said that the government will only reach a decision after the expert committee submits its report. Although the finance minister said that India is determined to resolve the conflict through peaceful means as prescribed in the Indian Constitution, he refrained from giving a concrete answer on whether Hurriyat Conference and separatist leaders will be included in the dialogue process in Kashmir.
The Prime Minister had earlier appealed for unilateral dialogue on Kashmir issue urging all stakeholders to come to the table.
Updated Date: Aug 12, 2016 20:28 PM