No talks with Pak, but will talk to people of J&K: Shah

No talks with Pakistan, but will talk to people of Jammu and Kashmir: Amit Shah

The Home Minister had a bulletproof glass shield removed before addressing people in Srinagar

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday stated in categorical terms that the Centre will not talk to Pakistan but will talk to people of Jammu and Kashmir directly.

Before addressing a gathering at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) in Srinagar on the final day of his visit, the Home Minister had a bulletproof glass shield removed. “Today I want to speak to you frankly, which is why there is neither bulletproof shield nor security here. I am standing before you like this,” Shah, who was wearing a pheran (Kashmiri gown), said.

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While snubbing regional National Conference (NC) president and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah for advocating dialogue with Pakistan, he said, “Let me clarify, if I will talk, I will talk to people of Jammu and Kashmir and its youth only, no one else,”

On Sunday, Abdullah had called for talks with Pakistan for the “sake of peace in J&K.”

Shah said that those who advocate talks with Islamabad and separatists should be asked what Pakistan has done in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). “Compare the development between this side and PoK. Do they have electricity, roads, healthcare and toilets? There is nothing (on the other side),” he said.

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Shah, who was on a three-day visit to J&K, said he is often asked by some people why curfew was imposed in Kashmir and why the internet was snapped after August 5, 2019 in Kashmir.

“Let me answer today. This was done to protect and save the lives of our youth. We didn’t want vested interests and anti-peace elements to exploit the situation and push our youth on roads to face bullets. This step was taken to save the lives of Kashmiri youth,” he said.

Also Read | Nobody will be allowed to disrupt peace in J&K, says Amit Shah

The Home Minister said that behind the Article 370 revocation there was only one intention – “to put Kashmir, Jammu and the newly-created Ladakh on the path to development. You will see the fruits of our efforts by 2024.”

Shah said there was rumour-mongering in J&K after the abrogation of Article 370 that land and jobs of people would be snatched. “Give me one example, of any village, where land of any villager has been snatched,” he said.

Without naming any party, the home minister said, “Three families which ruled Jammu and Kashmir are answerable to the people for their failure to develop the region over the past seven decades.”

Shah said that militancy was on a decline in J&K and efforts to “replace guns with pens have borne fruit.”

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