Rajnath Singh rules out plebiscite, says Kashmiris being 'misguided'

Rajnath Singh rules out plebiscite, says Kashmiris being 'misguided'

Rajnath Singh rules out plebiscite, says Kashmiris being 'misguided'
Rejecting 'plebiscite' demands as an "outdated" idea, the government today asserted that Kashmiris are "our own people" who are being "misguided" as it blamed Pakistan for the unrest in the valley and said all parties will be taken along in dealing with the situation.

The issue of 10-day-old unrest in Kashmir resonated in Rajya Sabha on the opening day of the Monsoon session, with the House taking up urgent discussion during which the opposition slammed the government and pressed for holding an all-party meet while pitching for a political solution rather than using "barrel of the gun".

The opposition, while attacking Pakistan for fanning trouble in Kashmir, asked the government to initiate a political process and direct security forces to exercise restraint while dealing with protests.

Replying to the debate, Home Minister Rajnath Singh 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 use of pellet guns, which have been blamed for most civilian injuries, would be looked into, regarding which he will talk to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, he said.

Singh said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he himself had asked security forces to exercise maximum restraint in dealing with mob violence which started after the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani in an encounter on July 8.

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.

"Whatever is happening in Kashmir is Pakistan-sponsored. The name is 'Pakistan', but its acts are 'na-pak' (not pious)," Singh said.

Referring to the demands for 'plebiscite', he ruled it out, saying it is "outdated" and people of Kashmir are being "misguided" on this issue.

"Kashmiris are our own people. We will bring them on the right path... We will make them aware of the reality," he said.

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

Earlier, initiating the discussion, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said while his party stands with the government and the PDP-BJP coalition in the state in dealing firmly with militancy, the "excessive use" of force against the common citizens, including children and women, is not acceptable.

For the current unrest, the Congress leader blamed a number of reasons including BJP's participation in government with PDP in the state, provocative statements made by some leaders of BJP and RSS besides Pakistan, "whose existence is the root cause of all problems."

He underlined that Kashmir cannot be ruled "through the barrel of the gun or bullets" and demanded that responsibility be fixed for "excessive use" of force.

Azad said the "bullets that are meant for militants should not be used against our own people in Kashmir". He even questioned why such bullets and pellet guns were not used in Haryana which had witnessed large scale Jat violence over quota in February.

Azad also demanded all-party meeting on the issue, a sentiment echoed by almost all other parties. Some demanded sending of an all-party delegation to Kashmir.

Azad also blamed TV channels for whipping up passion through talk shows. This sentiment was echoed by members of various other political parties also.

Leader of House Arun Jaitley admitted that the situation in Kashmir was a "matter of concern" but rejected the contention that the violence in the valley was a result of the BJP getting into power at the state.

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

Asking the youth to stay away from the agitation which is being held against the killing of a militant, he said, "When thousands of people attack the police, then understandably, there will be action. The fight is between the country and the separatists and common people are standing with the country which is in national interest."

"We want everybody and every party's support on Kashmir. We will engage with all parties and take everyone along on bringing normalcy in Kashmir," the Home Minister said, while welcoming all statements by leaders to bring normalcy in the valley.

With regard to pellet injuries, particularly the eye injuries, he said he will look into the damage caused by it but could not say anything off-hand.

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.

He 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.

Singh said the Centre 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.

He asserted that militancy will be dealt with sternly and Pakistan should not interfere in India's internal affairs.

Jaitley, the Minister for Finance, said he agrees with Azad that Kashmir situation is "serious" and that things were fine till recently.

"But, thinking that everything is wrong only since the formation of the PDP-BJP government is incorrect," he said.

Referring to Azad's contention that PDP-BJP government was a "misfit", Jaitley, the Minister for Finance, said mathematics of the poll results were such that only two parties (BJP and PDP) could join to form a government.

"You (Congress) also joined hands with National Conference and PDP because you knew that national parties need to work with these regional parties. We have differences with the PDP just like you (Congress) did with PDP and NC... but for the idea of India, we joined hands," he said.

Attacking Pakistan, Jaitley said ever since Independence, it has "never reconciled to the fact that Kashmir is an integral part of India. And hence they go to every extent to disrupt India and Kashmir's progress. When they (Pakistan) saw that they couldn't win a conventional war, they resorted to terrorism and militancy."

Rajnath Singh, while slamming Pakistan for its "irresponsible" role, 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.

Asking Pakistan to lay off, Singh 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."
He asked the minorities to "keep faith" in the government, cautioning that there are a "lot of people out to misguide them."