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10/24/2018 Talks with Pakistan if terror ends: Rajnath Singh - The Hindu

NATIONAL

Talks with Pakistan if terror ends: Rajnath Singh

Peerzada Ashiq
SRINAGAR, OCTOBER 23, 2018 22:44 IST
UPDATED: OCTOBER 23, 2018 22:44 IST

Minister says recent civic poll a historic step in devolution of powers in J&K

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday blamed Pakistan for “sponsoring terrorism”
inside Kashmir, and said while New Delhi was prepared to hold a dialogue, “terror and talks”
could not happen at the same time.

“India is not averse to talks. However, our condition is that Pakistan must stop promoting
terrorism,” Mr. Singh told presspersons here. “Let them give assurance [in that direction].
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Because terror and talks can’t go together,” he added.


The Minister arrived here to review the security situation in the State ahead of the panchayat
polls. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to visit Pakistan and meet the then
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family was aimed at having good neighbourly relations.
“However, Pakistan’s response was not very positive,” said Mr. Singh.

On internal dialogue, Mr. Singh, without naming the Hurriyat, said the Centre “will not shy
away from holding talks with those willing to do so”. He added that “the interlocutor
[Dineshwar Sharma] is mandated to hold talks.”

‘Situation improving’
Describing the situation in Kashmir as better than four months ago, Mr. Singh congratulated
the security forces for ensuring ‘violence-free’ civic body polls. “
He termed the recent civic body polls as “fair and transparent” and a “historic step” in the
devolution of powers in J&K. “Now onwards, a panchayat will be able to spend ₹60-₹70 lakh on
its own,” he said.

He said vibrant democracy was India’s strength and would help resolve many issues of
Kashmir. “I appeal to those who boycotted to participate in the panchayat polls and celebrate
the carnival of democracy,” said Mr. Singh.

Besides meeting Governor Satya Pal Malik, the Minister also held meetings with National
Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president
Mehbooba Mufti — both parties had boycotted the recent polls — and the Congress.

On the NC and PDP’s stand to boycott all coming polls till the Centre clarifies its stand on
Article 35A, which grants special rights to J&K’s citizens, Mr. Singh said the Centre had not
intervened or initiated any steps on such issues. “A non-issue has been made an issue,” said Mr.
Singh.
A PDP spokesman said Ms. Mufti had stressed on the “resumption of dialogue between India
and Pakistan” during the meeting.
“Good relations with Pakistan have a positive impact on the ground situation, which
automatically results in decline in alienation levels of people,” Ms. Mufti was cited as having
told Mr. Singh.

The spokesman said the PDP leader had also underlined that “every civilian killing not only
adds to the alienation level but also pushes the democratic and developmental process in the
State to the back-burner”.

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The NC, a spokesman said, “apprised the Home Minister about excessive use of force, cordon
operations, mass arrests, intermittent media and Internet curbs, and rampant curfews”.

“Solution to Kashmir problem can only be achieved through a process of dialogue and the
policy of looking at Kashmir issue through the prism of security will bring more misery to
people. Dialogue with all stakeholders is the key,” the NC delegation told the visiting Union
Minister.

Expressing his “heartfelt” condolence to the families of the Kulgam blast victims, he
announced a compensation of ₹5 lakh each for the seven civilians who lost their lives.

“The operation was over and security forces had withdrawn when the blast took place. It was
unfortunate. I appeal to people to avoid visiting areas where operations are on. Security forces
have also been directed to take all precautions,” he added.

Printable version | Oct 24, 2018 12:19:30 PM |


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