Srinagar, Jun 7 Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, here to review the ongoing suspension of security-related operations during Ramzan, today appealed to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to help bring in peace saying else “we might lose another generation of the state to darkness”.
He also said the Centre was ready to hold dialogue with all “right-minded” people if not “like-minded”, a statement seen as an olive branch to the separatists.
In his hectic rounds of engagements during the day, the home minister held talks with officials to review the unilateral ceasefire during the Ramzan, felicitated sports persons and held meetings with Governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
Addressing a press conference later, he said that the Centre was ready to hold talks with all right-minded people and Pakistan, provided the neighbouring country stopped terror activities emanating from its soil.
During a function held at Sher-e-Kashmir Indoor Sports Stadium, the home minister made a passionate appeal to the youth not to fall prey to the propaganda campaign being carried out from across the border and their stooges in the state.
He said the central and the state governments would make every effort to change the “face and destiny” of the state by empowering the youth with education and helping them excel in sports, and added that New Delhi took into consideration the fact that youngsters had been “mislead” into stone pelting on security forces before taking a decision to withdraw such cases against them.
“We believe that children anywhere are same. We understand that a few youths were misled into stone pelting… Children can make mistakes… (And) that is why we decided to withdraw the cases…,” Singh said, adding that “with the help of Jammu and Kashmir government, we will change the face and destiny of the state”.
“There is extreme love in the heart of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for Jammu and Kashmir. It is our responsibility to provide a secure future to the youth and it can be done with the power of education and miracle of sports,” the home minister said and urged the youth of Kashmir Valley not to tread the path of destruction.
“I want to appeal to the youth that they should take the path of development.”
At the press conference, he made it clear that while the Centre was ready to talk with all concerned people and groups and that was why the government had appointed a special representative.
“The special representative has not been appointed for sightseeing. He has come here 11 times so far,” the home minister said, referring to the appointment of Dineshwar Sharma in October last year, while appealing to the people of the state to come forward for bringing back peace “lest we might lose another generation of the state to the darkness”.
Asked if the unilateral ceasefire announced by the Centre in Jammu and Kashmir would be extended beyond Ramzan, he said a decision in this regard would be taken after reviewing the situation thoroughly.
“The prime minister took a decision on the suspension of operation during Ramzan after giving it due thought. We took this decision keeping in view the situation of the common people of the state…. a decision on extending it beyond Ramzan will be taken after reviewing the situation,” he said.
Without naming separatists, Singh said they should refrain from misleading the youth into violence. “They give education to their own kids and stones in the hands of other kids. I appeal to them to treat the kids of others just like they treat their own,” he said.
Referring to Pakistan, the home minister said some powers were covertly or overtly using terrorism. “They should understand that terrorism has no religion…when it will devour whom no one can say with certainty,” he said.
Maintaining that the Centre’s stand since beginning was that New Delhi was willing to talk to everyone, Singh said, “At least our neighbouring country Pakistan should prevent terror activities on its soil. And if you (Pakistan) are not able to stop terrorism, why don’t you take help from your neighbouring country India.”
Singh lashed out at militant groups saying they were not relenting in their nefarious activities even during the holy fasting month. “Those who are not giving up their nefarious activities even in the holy month of Ramzan, should their activities not be called unholy. I would like to say that to mislead the youth is not only deceit but it is a crime,” he added.
Singh said India was the only country in the world where all important religions of the world were being practised. “There is no Islamic country in the world which has all the 72 sects of Islam. If there is any country where all these sects can be found, it is India. (Then why) so much of hatred for that India!” he said.
Singh said that concerned about the plight of those misled into stone pelting, the Centre has decided to withdraw cases against nearly 10,000 people who were involved in stone pelting for the first time.
“Don’t forget that Atal Bihari Vajpayee used to talk about Jamhooriyat (democracy), Kashmiriyat and Insaniyat. Today, I want to ask those who are wielding the gun, do they believe in democracy?” he asked.
He said the prime minister from ramparts of the Red Fort said that “we want a solution to problem of Jammu and Kashmir, not by firing bullets but by embracing (the people). When we talk about Kashmiriyat it includes Hazratbal as well as Amarnath”.