Rajnath blames Pakistan for bloodshed in Kashmir

He, however, ruled out a plebiscite, saying it was an "outdated" demand and the people of Kashmir were being misguided.

July 19, 2016 01:57 am | Updated December 04, 2021 10:46 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Home Minister Rajnath Singh informed the Rajya Sabha on Monday that the present unrest in Kashmir valley was “sponsored by Pakistan”. He, however, ruled out a plebiscite, saying it was an “outdated” demand and the people of Kashmir were being misguided.

Replying to a debate on the Kashmir situation, he affirmed that while militancy will be dealt with sternly, there should be “no instant” use of bullets while dealing with mobs which should first be tackled by the use of teargas and water cannons.

The Minister said, “Whatever is happening in Kashmir is Pakistan-sponsored. The name is ‘Pakistan’, but its acts are na-pak [not pious]. Kashmiris are our own people. We will bring them on the right path... We will make them aware of the reality,” he said.

“It is for the government of India to look after minorities of India and we will do so, whether it is Muslims, Sikhs, Christians or anybody,” Mr. Singh asserted, asking Pakistan to stop meddling. The Opposition parties, however, slammed the government and pressed for a political solution, instead of using “the barrel of gun” to solve the crisis. They said “the healing touch” was missing.

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said in the House on Monday that the unrest in Kashmir was unprecedented, something even the 1990s had not witnessed.

Read: >Behind the rage in south Kashmir

During a short-duration discussion on the situation, Mr Azad said that while his party stood with the Union and the State governments in dealing firmly with militancy, the “excessive use” of force against the common people, even children and women, was unacceptable.

“Distinction should be made between militants and civilians. The same bullet used to kill militants should not be used to kill children, women and youngsters. Should we treat them as militants? We are with you when it comes to eradication of militants. But we will not be part of this [heavy use of force against civilians],” he said.

He said the situation had been simmering for the past year and a half. “This is lava. Lava does not erupt in a day.”

Karan Singh, also of the Congress, severely criticised the “disproportionate use of force”. “If we think Kashmir is a part of India, [we have to] share the pain, frustration and rage there. Pakistan will obviously fan the flames, simply blaming them is unrealistic. Introspection is required … got to face the problem with dialogue not guns. The soul of Kashmir is Sufis and rishis … the chinars are on fire.”

Reiterating that Kashmir issue cannot be resolved through bullets, Naresh Agarwal of the Samajwadi Party said it was high time for the government to "take a strong decision" and convene an all- party meeting "this evening, tomorrow or day after" to discuss the issue.

Derek O'Brien, Trinamool Congress, blamed the Centre for "mishandling the situation" and demanded that "we must extend all help to the families of ordinary people killed there."

Expressing deep pain at the death of children, he alleged that unfortunately instead of harnessing the social media for constructive purposes, BJP was busy using it for PR and happy birthday messages.

Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said he was "pained" at the situation in the Valley and killing of children as young as eight by security forces and treatment meted out to women and children. Mr. Yadav also launched a scathing attack on the media and asked why the government had failed to restrain them as they continued to show statements by separatists and some others from abroad, which compromised the dignity of the nation.

"Why is this drama allowed...Can't we tell the media to stop showing the propaganda of people supporting Islamic State in India," a visibly upset Mr Yadav said.

Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M) said he was pained and his “sympathies go out to the families whose youth have been killed in Kashmir”. “Thirty-four youth have been killed and just one police officer has lost his life. This shows the balance of power. Over 1,400 youth are injured, with many losing vision. There has been wrong use of pellets,” he said.

Read: >Centre rushes 2,000 additional troops to Kashmir

Leader of the House Arun Jaitley said the situation was a “matter of concern”, but rejected the contention that the violence was a result of the BJP coming to power in the State.

Asserting that efforts are under way to restore normality, he said the entire country should speak in one voice at this time and the common man should not be made to suffer.

The Home Minister said he had, on Saturday last, expressed desire to visit Kashmir and have a dialogue with the people directly. Mehbooba, while welcoming the offer, told him that after the situation normalises a bit, she will come to Delhi and have a meeting with him to discuss in what format talks can be held, he said.

Invoking Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s famous statement of Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat and Insaniyat (Kashmiri ethos, democracy and humanity), he said, “If there is any place for Kashmiriyat in Jamhooriyat, it can be only on the basis of Insaniyat and not Haivaniyat (devilish acts). Those believing in Kashmiriyat and Insaniyat, cannot give space to haivaniyat.”

He, however, cited some study which had said that in the year 2010, six people had been killed, 198 were injured and 5 blinded because of the use of pellet guns.

Mr Jaitley said a team of eye specialists has already been sent to Kashmir and the central government is ready to send even a special plane to airlift any number of people requiring specialised treatment for eyes as also other injuries.

Mr. Singh said the central government is ready to extend all help to the state government in meeting the situation, including the provision of essential commodities in the curfew-bound valley.

With regard to prohibitions on newspapers and mobile internet in Kashmir, he said it should not happen and that he will discuss this issue too with the Chief Minister.

Slamming Pakistan for its "irresponsible" role, Home Minister Rajnath Singh questioned its claim to be the "protector of Islam", asking, "How can a country claim to be protector of Islam when it was born on the basis of religion, when it is witnessing bloodshed in the name of religion." He questioned how Pakistan could claim to be concerned about Muslims in India when it itself could not remain united despite being a Muslim nation.

"It is for the government of India to look after minorities of India and we will do so, whether it is Muslims, Sikhs, Christians or anybody," Mr. Singh asserted, asking Pakistan to lay off.

Responding to demands by opposition for holding an all-party meeting on Kashmir, Mr. Singh said, "I want to assure Rajya Sabha that any action to be taken in Kashmir will be taken after taking everyone in confidence. We don't do politics for forming government, we do politics to make the country great."

Blasting those who celebrate the killing of security forces, Mr. Singh said, "it is reflective of Haivaniyat (devilish behaviour)."

In this context, he criticised those who have described the gunning down of militant Burhan Wani in an encounter as "extra-judicial killing", saying such a mindset is "perverted".

"This mindset has been seen whether in the case of Dantewada, Bastar or Kashmir. If security forces are killed, there are celebrations. Such is the perverted mind. We will address it," he said.

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