Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said that the situation in Kashmir Valley has improved significantly compared to the last year and ‘some green shoots of peace are visible’. He expressed willingness to meet every stakeholder to resolve the long-standing issues.
Singh, who concluded his first leg of his visit to the State addressed reporters here in Srinagar along with the Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office, Jitendra Singh and Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh.
Singh who is on a four-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, told reporters before leaving for Jammu, that the ‘tree of peace in Kashmir has not dried up’ and that a permanent solution to Kashmir issue is based on five ‘C’s — compassion, communication, coexistence, confidence building and consistency.
“After meeting the delegations and holding meetings here, I understand that the situation in Kashmir has greatly improved. I don’t want to claim that everything is completely fine but things are improving, this I can say with firm belief,” Singh said.
“The situation is improving in Kashmir Valley. We wish to see smiles on the face of Kashmiri people,” he added.
Rajnath Singh said kids below the age of 18 will be treated in accordance with the Juvenile Act and not like criminals.
“…kids below the age of 18 should not be treated like criminals, whatever investigation needs to be done it must be done in accordance with Juvenile act. They must not be sent to prison, must be sent to juvenile homes,” he said.
He said that he has also suggested Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to watch over it (Juvenile Act) personally. He said that the minors should be counseled in a better way not like criminals.
Singh said during his three days in Kashmir he saw that the tree of peace in Kashmir has not dried up.
“We could see some green shoots of peace on this tree,” the minister said.
The Home Minister said there was lot of speculation when he spoke about permanent solution to the problems of Kashmir.
“Our permanent solution is based on five ‘C’s — compassion, communication, coexistence, confidence building and consistency. We will continue to strive for peace with honour and dignity of the people of Kashmir,” he said.
On the legal challenge to Article 35A of the Constitution, Singh said the Centre has neither initiated any action nor gone to the court in this regard.
“There is no reason for doubt or speculation on this issue. Unnecessarily an issue is being made out. Central government has not initiated any process on this issue, we have not gone to the court. I want to assure that I am not talking about only Article 35A, whatever our government does, we will not do anything against the sentiments of the people here. We will continue to respect that,” he said.
When asked about the allegations that NIA was being used to pressurize separatists, Home Minister said that the organization is an independent investigating agency and the law will takes its own course.
“We have nothing to do with it. They must have evidence based on which they are acting,” he added.
The Union Home Minister said that the central government will launch a special promotional drive to promote tourism in Kashmir, Singh appealed to all countrymen to visit Kashmir for tourism and trade saying there was no danger in visiting the Valley.
“I want to appeal to all people from India and around the world who are into tourism to visit Kashmir. People of Kashmir are ready to welcome you, they want to make it heaven again and take it back from the hands of terrorists. There is no danger here,” he said.
Meanwhile, during his visit to Jammu, Singh said that the government has increased the compensation to those who are killed in the cease fire violation in the border areas.
Singh while visiting the border town of Nowshera in Poonch district stated that the government has increased the compensation for Indian citizens killed in ceasefire violations from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh.
“Those who suffer more than 50% disability due to ceasefire violations will receive Rs 5 lakh as compensation,” the Home Minister said while addressing a crowd at Nowshera.
Singh also said that he has instructed authorities to have 60 percent recruitment from people at border areas for Indian Reserve Battalion 5 in Jammu Kashmir.
He also said that the biggest strategic asset of any nation is the people, who live near border area.
“This is India is not the weak India it used to be, it has not become a powerful country, the Home Minister said.
Singh is currently in Jammu city to meet various delegation of the Jammu division.