Rajnath promises alternative to pellet guns soon

Rajnath promises alternative to pellet guns soon

Says all-party team will visit Kashmir

Rajnath promises alternative to pellet guns soon

 Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said an alternative to pellet guns, which have caused large-scale injuries during the 48-day ongoing unrest in Kashmir, would be announced soon.

Addressing a press conference along with Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti here, he said the committee he had set up to find an alternative to pellet guns during his last visit to the Valley would submit its report shortly.

“Within a few days, we will come out with an alternative to pellet guns. In 2010, when pellet guns were introduced, it was believed they were non-lethal weapons. But today, we feel there should be an alternative.

“We have directed the security forces to exercise maximum restraint and I have been told they are already doing so. More than 4,500 security personnel have been injured (in the past 48 days),” Singh said.

Singh also said an all-party delegation would visit Kashmir to talk to the people to resolve the crisis in the Valley.

“We want to bring an all-party delegation to Kashmir. I have told Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to make preparations for it,” he said.

Asked whether New Delhi was willing to talk to separatist leaders, he said: “I have said we are willing to talk to anyone within the scope of Insaniyat (humanity), Jamhooriyat (democracy) and Kashmiryat.”

He said whenever a Kashmiri youth or security jawan is killed “we too are pained”. “Those hands which should have been carrying books are now throwing stones. Who is instigating the youth? Can they guarantee the future of these youth?” Singh said.

Appealing to the people of Kashmir to identify those instigating the youth to indulge in stone-throwing, he said, “We cannot separate the future of Kashmir from the future of India. Without the future of Kashmir, the future of India cannot exist.”

He said the Ministry of Home Affairs would set up a nodal agency to look into complaints of Kashmiri youth across the country.

“I want to inform you that the Ministry of Home Affairs will appoint a nodal officer for Kashmiri youth across the country. They can call the officer on a number – we will soon announce it,” he said.

Reminding the people how the security forces had helped them during the devastating 2014 floods, he said, “I have appealed to the people of the country that any Kashmiri settled outside the state should feel secure. It is the duty of every Indian youth to instil confidence among Kashmiris studying outside the state.”

Singh was on a two-day visit to the Valley to review security and interact with civil society groups, political parties and other stakeholders as part of the outreach recently promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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