Admitting that the Kashmir issue was a challenge for the Narendra Modi government, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has asserted that the Centre will come out with a “permanent solution” keeping in mind “Kashmir, Kashmiris and Kashmiriyat”.
In an interview to India Today news channel, Rajnath Singh refused to give a time frame for a solution and insisted that the Government was open for “unconditional” talks with all stakeholders.
“Kashmir issue is a challenge for us; there are no two ways about it. But we want to assure the country that we will come out with a permanent solution. And we will arrive at this permanent solution taking into consideration, Kashmir, Kashmiris and Kashmiriyat,” said Rajnath Singh.
“We cannot allow repeated recurrence of unrest in Kashmir. We cannot allow Kashmir to burn. We cannot give a time frame, that in one month or two months we will solve this. You don’t have instant solution to such issues. Efforts are on and we are trying with our full might to come out with a permanent solution,” he said.
He repeatedly refused to reveal anything about the government’s strategy for a “permanent solution”, but said they were open to talks with all stakeholders, including the separatist Hurriyat.
“We want to talk to stakeholders, whoever wants to talk, we are open to discuss with them. But then talks will have to be unconditional. Talks cannot and will not happen on any kind of preconditions,” he said.
Asked to comment on a recent expose, revealing the Hurriyat’s links with Pakistan, Rajnath Singh said: “There are no two ways about the fact that Pakistan is actively pursuing destabilising Kashmir, and through Kashmir it wants to destabilise India. Pakistan is the only country in the world which promotes terrorism.”
On the expose on Hurriyat and the subsequent call for a ban on them by Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh, Rajnath Singh refused to comment.
“I don’t want to comment (on banning Hurriyat). We have taken cognisance of whatever they have said and we will do whatever is justified. We have already handed over the probe to the NIA (National Investigation Agency), let the probe report come,” he said.
Asked why the separatist leaders were put under house arrest and not jailed and provided with security, Rajnath Singh put the onus on the state government.
“It is the state government which provides the security and not the Centre,” he said.
When reminded that it was a BJP-PDP alliance at the helm in the state, Rajnath Singh said the move to provide security to the separatists was being done from earlier.
He also said the government was taking many initiatives, including inducting the youth into the security forces, to bring the people of Kashmir into the mainstream and discourage the youth from taking to militancy.