Rajnath sees green shoots of peace in Kashmir

In the Valley for three days, Home minister expresses his willingness to meet every stakeholder to resolve matters

The situation in Kashmir Valley has improved significantly over the past year and some green shoots of peace are visible, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday as he expressed willingness to meet every stakeholder to resolve long-standing issues.

Singh, who is on a four-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, told reporters that the tree of peace in Kashmir has not dried up and that a permanent solution to Kashmir issue is based on five C’s — compassion, communication, coexistence, confidence building and consistency. “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. The tree of peace in Kashmir has not dried up. We could see some green shoots of peace on that tree.” the minister.

He said during his visit he has interacted with police and CRPF personnel and he will also meet the army personnel. “I am willing to meet anyone who wants to help us in resolving problems of Kashmir.There is no question of a formal or informal invitation. Those who want to talk should come forward. I always come here with an open mind,” Singh said when asked if the government was ready to hold talks with separatists. If need be, I will visit Kashmir 50 times in a year. We will continue our efforts to bring peace here and this is our firm conviction,” Rajnath said. He said the government does not want to leave out any of the stakeholders with whom dialogue should be held.

The Home minister asked Pakistan to stop infiltrating militants in the state so that peace with dignity can be restored. “While paying tributes to ASI Abdul Rasheed, I again saw the picture of his daughter Zohra. I cannot forget her face. We want smile and happiness on the face of every youth of Kashmir and we will continue our efforts in this regard,” he said. Rasheed was shot at and injured by militants in Anantnag district. He later died at a hospital.

The government, he said, had made sincere efforts for improving relations with all neighbouring countries including Pakistan right from the day it took office in May 2014. “The Prime Minister invited premiers of all neighbouring countries to the oath ceremony. The intent was clear that we invited them not for shaking hands but for heart to heart relations. The Prime Minister broke all protocol and went there to attend a function. We made all out efforts. AB Vajpayee said we can change friends but not neighbours. But what is the neighbouring country doing? They are infiltrating terrorists here. I will ask Pakistan that it should stop. We have never said that we do not want good relations with neighbours, we want it. Be it Vajpayee or PM Modi, everyone has made an effort but Pakistan has not responded the way it should have,” he added.