Making a fresh bid to reach out to separatists in Jammu and Kashmir, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday said Government will hold talks with every section of political opinion in the state through “quiet dialogue, quiet diplomacy” to find a political solution to the Kashmir problem that may be “unique“.
“We are not shying away from talks with anyone,” Chidambaram said while interacting with journalists at the All India Editors Conference on Social and Infrastrastructure issues here.
“Let me assure you it will be quiet dialogue, quiet diplomacy until we find the contours of a political solution.
Once the broad contours of a political solution are arrived at, it will be made public at an appropriate time”, he said while refusing to elaborate on it. “We cannot hold the dialogue in the glare of the media“.
“We will hold dialogue with every shade of political opinion in Jammu and Kashmir to find a solution in a civilised way,” he said.
Chidambaram said political parties like National Conference, PDP and Congress have a point of view and the effort would be to hold talks with all shades of political opinion, including some political groups advocating separatism, to arrive at the contours of a political solution which may be unique.
Such a solution, he said, should be “honourable and acceptable” to the vast majority of the people in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Jammu and Kashmir has a unique geographical location and a unique history. We have to find a solution that may turn out to be unique.
“There is nothing wrong with a unique solution but we must find a solution that is honourable, equitable and acceptable to the vast majority, overwhelming majority of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” Chidambaram said.
To a question if India considered Kashmir as its integral part, he refused to get into “verbal gymnastics” on the issue, saying he would not like to get into “these kind of traps“.
He acknowledged that there is a “problem” in J&K and efforts will be made to find a political solution.
On the security scenario in the border state, he said infiltration from Pakistani territory and PoK was “solely” responsible for violence in the state adding that it was difficult to completely control it because of long border and Line of Control with the neighbouring country.
He said the Jammu and Kashmir police, backed by paramilitary forces, was now being made responsible for maintenance of peace. Army’s role, he said, is to defend the borders -- international border as also the LoC.
The Home Minister said there has been significant successes on the part of the security forces in the last few months in stopping infiltration from across the border.
The security forces were doing “better and better” to contain the influx of terrorists into the country though groups across the border were recruiting young men and brainwashing them to pursue Jehad and create mayhem in India.
According to statistics, so-called militant commanders were being neutralised in six months to a year’s time by the security forces who were all out to reduce infiltration to the barest minimum, he said.
Observing that there was desperation on the part of Pakistan to push in infiltrators, Chidambaram said the strength of para—military forces deployed in the state will depend on the operational situation.
Para-military forces will not be withdrawn from the state and would be available to help the state police in maintenance of peace and tranquility.
The Home Minister said there has been a marked improvement in the security situation of Jammu and Kashmir and the number of incidents of violence in the first six months of the year was lowest in the last eight or nine years.
Disagreeing with a questioner that the recommendations of the working groups on Kashmir, set up after a visit of the Prime Minister, were not being implemented, he said the suggestions made by them were being “absorbed and incorporated” in the Kashmir plan.
He said a mechanism was being put in place for close monitoring and speeding up of various projects under the economic reconstruction plan for the state.
Describing the circulation of fake currency as “not such a big threat”, the Home Minister said according to RBI one note in one lakh was fake and its dimension was not so big as to destablise the Indian economy.
Noting that fake currency was being smuggled from across the LoC and the Nepal border, he said strong action would be taken to check the menace.
On the issue of Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which was in operation in J&K and parts of the north east, he said amendments to it were awaiting Cabinet’s nod and once given legislative approval, it would be applicable throughout the country.
Holding that there was no place for violence in J&K or anywhere, Chidambaram said, “There will be political differences. There will be different political parties, there will be even different shades of opinion which could be described as extremist views.
“There would be some voices who are pleading for a separate nation -- secession.... That is a reality but whatever shade of opinion one has there is no place for violence.”
On rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants, Chidambaram said houses were being built under a state government plan and an advisory committee has been set up under the state Revenue Minister to speed up the process.
He said rehabilitation plan could not be worked out without housing arrangements.
Replying to a question, he said that the government was not in the business of funding any newspaper or individuals in the state.
Asked if the government was considering bringing in an international agency for the upkeep of the Dal lake, he said the lake had shrunk due to encroachment by the people.
“We can’t use brute force (against people). We can only persuade them to vacate the encroachments,” he said while maintaining there was no need for a world body to brought in.
On the issue of providing national identity cards to the people, he said while work was on this year to give such cards to towns and villages in the coastal areas including Andaman and Nicobar Islands, people in other places will be included in the National Population Register next year.
To a question on insurgency in the north east, he said the government was will to hold dialogue with any militant group if it gave up violence and laid down arms.