New Delhi: Accusing Pakistan of being fully responsible behind the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani by the security forces, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday lashed out at Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and said that no power in the world can wrest Kashmir from India.
Addressing the Rajya Sabha regarding the state of violence in the Valley, Rajnath said that the unrest was sponsored by Pakistan and that they were to be blamed entirely for the tense situation, adding that separatist leaders were fanning the flames by trying to spread an atmosphere of fear.
“Since 9th July, their so-called leaders have maintained on prolonging protest. Even the areas even where there is no curfew, out of fear, the shops remain closed. I want to laud the state government for functioning effectively despite all the hurdles thrown in their way. I’m not saying that the situation is completely under control, but the state government is ensuring the daily lives of the people continue unhindered,” he said.
Talking about the criticism the Centre is facing over the use of ‘excessive force’ by the security forces in the Valley, Rajnath stated that the number of defence personnel were higher than the civilians when it came to injuries in the clashes.
“After I came back from Kashmir, I formed an expert committee and asked them to give me a report in two months as to what other options we have regarding non-lethal weapons. 4, 515 jawans and 3, 356 civilians have been injured. More jawans have been injured because we have asked them to exercise restraint and avoid the usage of pellet guns,” Rajnath said.
The Home Minister also informed the House that 100 ambulances were destroyed by stone-pelting yet 400 more ambulances have been deployed.
Asserting that the entire nation stood in solidarity with the people of the Valley, the Home Minister added that Kashmir remains an integral part of India and will not be separated at any cost.
“Two weeks ago, Nawaz Sharif said that he is waiting for Kashmir to be handed over to Pakistan, he even wrote to UN Secretary General regarding this. I want to assert that no power in the world can wrest Kashmir from us. And if at all they want to have a dialogue with us, then we are ready. But it will be about Pakistan occupied Kashmir, not Kashmir,” he said.
“Some Lashkar terrorists are trying to threaten our security personnel and their families in Kashmir,” Singh added.
Appealing to the youth of the Valley to ensure that no anti-national elements thrive on the soil of Kashmir, Rajnath stated that anti-national slogans will be tolerated.
Regarding the waving of ISIS flags during protests, he said the terrorist organisation is disrespecting Islam, as the religion does not allow murder.
Asserting that the Centre is ready for talks on the matter, Rajnath announced that an all-party meeting will be convened on August 12 at 12 p.m.
The Opposition earlier came down heavily on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not addressing the concerns of the Kashmiris in Parliament.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, earlier today said there is murder of humanity and democracy in Kashmir and called for integration of hearts for an amicable solution to the crisis.
Escalating his attack on the Prime Minister, Azad said he tweets about everything, but not Kashmir.
“The law and order is not the sole responsibility of the Kashmir Police…the paramilitary forces are also involved. You call Jammu and Kashmir an integral part of India, but there needs to be integration of hearts between the people of India and Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
Asserting that the Congress Party has been repetitively demanding that the Prime Minister should come and make statements on the Kashmir and Dalit issues in the Parliament, Azad said, “Don’t just love Kashmir for its beauty, love Kashmir for its people, and love the children and people who lost their eyes in protests.”
The senior Congress leader thanked Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on behalf of the Opposition for allowing discussion on Kashmir issue in the Parliament.
“We did not hear the Prime Minister’s statement on Dalit issues here in the Parliament. We got to hear about his views from Telangana. He should speak in the Rajya Sabha on the Kashmir issue,” Azad told the Rajya Sabha.
Asserting that the former UPA regime initiated many confidence building measures, the Congress leader further said the Parliament must appeal people for peace in Kashmir.
“Jammu and Kashmir has a curfew, many people have been injured. Civilians have faced losses. And as Parliament is on, we all need to share their pain,” said Azad.
There should be an all-party delegation and a meeting that needs to be sent to Jammu and Kashmir. It should be announced during the Parliament,” he added.