NEW DELHI: Blasting Pakistan for giving political legitimacy to Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed, Home minister Rajnath Singh said on Saturday security forces can cross the Line of Control (LoC), if needed, to protect the country’s territorial integrity.
Making it clear that Jammu and Kashmir will remain an integral part of India, Singh said the Narendra Modi government wants a permanent solution to the Kashmir issue and the interlocutor appointed by it was ready to talk to anyone willing to have a dialogue.
“We not only secure India internally but can also cross border, if needed, to protect the country,” he said at the News18 Rising India summit.
In September 2016, the Indian Army had claimed carrying out surgical strikes across the LoC.
The Home minister said India wants to maintain friendly relations with Pakistan but that country was not keen, opting rather to give “political legitimacy” to Lashkar-e-Toiba founder and 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed.
“Pakistan is now providing political legitimacy to a UN-designated terrorist. Hafiz Saeed is now allowed to form a political party, he will contest elections and go to parliament. Haqqani Network, which is responsible for killings of scores of people, [is] being abetted and given protection. It is shocking,” he said.
Singh, however, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has achieved huge success in taking the fight against terrorism to the international forum. Earlier nobody talked against Pakistan’s terrorism: now the US has also condemned Pakistan, he said.
Referring to the appointment of the interlocutor on the Kashmir issue, former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma, the Home minister said the interlocutor would talk to everyone who was keen for dialogue.
He said despite Pakistan’s best efforts, Kashmir would never be separated from India. “Kashmir was with India, Kashmir is with India and Kashmir will remain with India forever,” he said.
Singh that said Kashmir’s children were like his own and that he would not allow anyone to radicalise them.
“I want to tell those who are trying to teach jihad to innocent Kashmiri youths that they should first learn the real concept of jihad in Islam,” he said.
The minister said he had personally asked Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to ignore cases filed against first-time stone-pelters.
Following Singh’s request, the Jammu and Kashmir government had withdrawn cases registered against 9,730 people involved in stone-pelting incidents, including first-time offenders.
“We have forgiven first-time stone-pelters. They might have been influenced by others. They are young. We need to give them a second chance,” he said.
Singh also highlighted the government’s efforts in dealing with Maoists and the insurgents in the Northeast.
He said the battle against Naxals can’t be won through bullets and hence several developmental initiatives were taken in this direction.
“We are trying to reach those areas which have remained unreachable since independence. Naxalism was a huge problem for India, but in the last four years we have achieved major success in that space,” he said.
Singh said violence in the Northeast has come down by 75 percent in the last few years.