JEHANGIR ALI | 11 SEPTEMBER, 2017
SRINAGAR: In a fresh attempt to reach out to the people of Kashmir, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said the Centre is open for talks with all shades of opinion in Jammu and Kashmir in order to find a "permanent solution" to the lingering problem.
"We want a permanent solution to Kashmir problem which is based on five C's: Compassion, Consistency, Co-existence, Confidence Building and Communication. We are serious in our efforts to resolve the problems of the state," Rajnath said while addressing a press conference here.
The Union Home Minister said he has met nearly 55 delegations over the last two days who apprised him about the different problems faced by the State. "We are serious and even if I have to visit 50 times, we will not stop till the problems of Jammu and Kashmir are not resolved," he said.
On the issue of the case of Article 35 A, which is being heard by the Supreme Court, Rajnath said vested interests are making issues out of non-issue, "This is a non-issue. No such step will be taken which will hurt the sentiments of people of Kashmir," he said.
Asked if the Centre was open to hold talks with separatists and if they have been invited to meet him, the Home Minister prevaricated, stating the that the purpose of his visit to Jammu and Kashmir was to meet people of all shades of opinion.
"I have come here to listen to the grievances of people. I have met 55 delegations. We are ready to talk with all people who want to find a permanent solution to the problems of Jammu and Kashmir," he said.
Answering another query on the raids being carried out by the National Investigations Agency on separatist leaders, the Home Minister said the NIA is only doing is work, "We don't believe in arm twisting. They (NIA) are doing their work and we will not interfere in it," he said.
Rajnath said his visit must be seen as a follow-up of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's August 15 speech wherein he had called for embracing people of Kashmir. On the question of talks with Pakistan, he said India wants good relations with her neighbours.
"(Former PM) Atal (Bihari Vajpayee) Ji used to say that neighbours can't be changed. We want good relations with all our neighbours. But Pakistan must stop the scourge terrorism and infiltration first," he said.
The Home Minister is expected to leave for the winter capital Jammu where he is scheduled to meet delegations of civil society representatives, traders and other sections of society.
(Cover Photograph BASIT ZARGAR)