Article 35A: Govt in Delhi won’t go against sentiments of Kashmiris, says Rajnath Singh; Omar Abdullah lauds statement

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh during his four day Kashmir visit is trying to reach out to all stakeholders in the state, who can bring back peace. Speaking to reporters on Monday, Rajnath Singh said that, “After meeting the delegations and holding meetings here, I understand that the situation in Kashmir has greatly improved.I don’t want to claim that everything is completely fine but things are improving, this I can say with firm belief”. He also affirmed that solution to Kashmir issue can be found on the bassi of five C’s — compassion, communication, coexistence, confidence building and consistency.

And to press home the point, Rajnath cleared air on legal challenge of Article 35A, which prohibits people from outside the hilly state. He said, “There is no reason for doubt or speculation on this issue. Unnecessarily an issue is being made out.Central government has not initiated any process on this issue, we have not gone to the court. I want to assure that — I am not talking about only Article 35A, whatever our government does, we will not do anything against the sentiments of the people here. We will continue to respect that. “I think there are no issues left.It is very unfortunate,”

Asked about the allegations that NIA was being used to pressurise separatists, Singh said it is an independent investigating agency and the law will takes its own course. “We have nothing to do with it. They must have evidence based on which they are acting,” he added. Asked if any of the 55 delegations raised the issue of revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the state, Singh said no one raised this issue. On the use of pellet guns for crowd control, the home minister said this equipment was being used very sparingly now.

“Last year we looked into the alternatives to pellet guns and introduced PAVA (grenades). Though it was not very effective, the pellet guns have been used less compared to earlier,” he said. Singh appealed to all countrymen to visit Kashmir for tourism and trade saying there was no danger in visiting the Valley. “I want to appeal to all people from India and around the world who are into tourism to visit Kashmir.People of Kashmir are ready to welcome you, they want to make it heaven again and take it back from the hands of terrorists. There is no danger here,” he said. He said the Centre will launch a special promotional drive to promote tourism in Kashmir.

Rajnath Singh also gave a stern message to Pakistan and said that they have not reciprocated to goodwill gestures shown by PM Modi and AB Vajpayee. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh urged Pakistan to stop sending terrorists from across the border.

With PTI inputs

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