New Delhi: Home Minister Rajnath Singh has strongly defended the Modi government’s Kashmir policy, saying the Kashmir issue has been a “very old” one and a major challenge for all governments and will take time to be resolved.
He also said the BJP “did its best” and tried everything to bring peace and development to the valley.
Singh made these comments in an interview to ‘The Week’ magazine following the BJP’s decision on Tuesday to withdraw its support to the PDP-led government. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had resigned subsequently and the state was today brought under the governor’s rule.
“No, Modiji’s Kashmir policy is correct. There is no doubt about it. It will take time; as I said, the problem was not born today or yesterday,” the Home Minister said when asked whether Modi’s Kashmir policy was faltering.
On whether he missed former state chief minister and PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Singh said the late leader was a senior and mature politician.
“But, we should not draw comparisons. She (Mehbooba Mufti) also tried, but it can be a matter of assessment of how successful she has been. The Kashmir problem is a very old one and has been a major challenge for all governments,” he said.
He said “a major factor has been the challenge of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism”.
Asked if he considered the ceasefire a mistake as it turned out to be the bloodiest Eid in the valley in recent years, he said it was not true that big attacks had not happened on Eid in the past.
“I don’t think that the ceasefire was a mistake. It was a decision that was taken keeping in mind those people in Kashmir who wanted peace and wanted to celebrate the pious month of Ramzan in its true spirit,” he said.
He added that security forces were never stopped from neutralising the terrorists, who were infiltrating from Pakistan, and the government did not call it a ceasefire. It was suspension of operations for a month, he said.
Singh reiterated the government’s stand that it will talk to whoever is willing to talk to it.
“We will even talk to Pakistan if it wants to talk to us. But Pakistan should first address the problem of terrorism emanating from its soil,” he said.
To a question about Pakistan elections and speculation that cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan can form the government, Singh said, “Yes, the Pakistan army is at it (supporting Imran Khan)”.