Rajnath promises alternative to pellet guns, says he is willing to talk to all

At a joint press conference with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, the Union Home Minister says he will bring an all-party delegation to Kashmir.

August 25, 2016 12:36 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 04:53 am IST - Srinagar

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday promised to look into alternatives to pellet guns and to keep the doors open to separatists for talks. "Ready to talk to those who believe in Insaaniyat [humanity], Jumhooriyat [democracy] and Kashmiriyat,” he said.

"A committee set up to look into alternatives to pellet guns will give its report soon. We feel the need to have an alternative. We have asked the forces to exercise maximum restraint and they are doing that," said Mr. Singh, who is on a two-day visit to the troubled Kashmir Valley.

Addressing a joint press conference with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Mr. Singh sought people's cooperation to maintain peace and order in the State.

On addressing the Kashmir problem, he said, "We have an understanding. We know how to address it."

When asked about separatists, the said he was ready to talk to all.

Mr. Singh pointed out that he met more than 300 people besides the mainstream political parties.The Centre will set up a nodal agency for Kashmiris living outside the State. "In case of any problem, they can contact it. I have appealed to people to treat Kashmiris like their brethren and instill confidence among Kashmiri students."

On the implementation of the 'Agenda of Alliance' with the PDP, he said his party was committed to it.

Ms. Mufti said 95 per cent population was for peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue. "Only 5 per cent are resorting to violence and they will be dealt as per the law. There are some elements who use children as shield. They push them into the fire by sending them to attack security establishments," she said, adding that she stood for peaceful resolution of the problem.

She claimed the 2010 and the 2016 agitations "cannot be seen through one prism."

Moments from the joint press conference:

12.40 pm: Do not question our understanding of the situation.Trying to find solution, says Rajnath.

12.40 pm: No solution can be found by pelting of stones and attacking security camps, says Mehbooba.

12. 39 pm: More than 4000 security personnel injured. Will appeal to people not to forget the role they played during floods in Kashmir, says Rajnath.

12.33 pm: I want an inquiry into the death of lecturer, says Mehbooba, adding 95 per cent of people want a peaceful solution to the Kashmir problem.

12.30 pm: Killings should stop in Kashmir. Who wants them to continue, asks Rajnath

12.27 pm: “We will talk to everyone within the confines of Insaniyat, Kashmiriyat and Jumhooriyat , he said in response to a query whether he was willing to talk to the Hurriyat.

12.25 pm: Rajnath says "there will be an alternative to pellet guns soon". He adds "Security forces have been asked to exercise restraint and they are doing so."

12.25 pm: "Children are children. If they pick up stones, they must be counselled," says Union Home Minister.

The Home Minister’s visit is an effort by the central government to restore normalcy in the Valley, which has been reeling under curfew and restrictions since trouble started.

“I shall interact will civil society groups, political parties and other stakeholders,” he had said, before leaving for Srinagar, adding, “Those who believe in Kashmiriyat, Insaniyat and Jamhooriyat (Kashmir’s pluralist ethos, humanity and democracy) are welcome.”

(with inputs from PTI)

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