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Talks and ‘terror’ can’t go together: Rajnath in Kashmir

Srinagar, Oct 23: The Government of India is ready to hold talks with anyone including Pakistan but “terror” and dialogue can never go together, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said here on Tuesday.

Reacting to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement asking India to resolve the Kashmir issue, he said, “We are ready for talks with anybody and take steps in this regard. But talks and terrorism can’t go together. Pakistan has been sponsoring the terrorism.”

“The terrorism will be wiped out from JK. There are some countries that don’t want development in India, but we won’t allow their designs to succeed. Our country will be among the top five economies in the world.”

Calling India a “vibrant democracy”, Home Minister of the county, Rajnath said all the issues in Jammu and Kashmir will be resolved “democratically”.

Addressing the media after meeting with various political parties, Singh appealed the people to participate in the upcoming panchayat polls.

“India has a vibrant democracy. All the issues will be resolved democratically. Those who don’t believe in the democratic process, are not the well-wishers of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

He hoped that all parties, including the PDP and NC, would participate in the panchayat polls.

The recently conducted urban local bodies’ elections were boycotted by two major regional due to the Centre’s unclear stand on Article 35A.

However, Singh called Article 35 A “non-issue”.

“We did not fiddle with it,” he said.

The schedule for nine-phase panchayat polls has been announced from November 17.

The Home Minister condoled the death of seven civilian in Kulgam. “It is unfortunate that civilian killing took place in Kulgam after an explosion following the encounter. The security forces had left the place when the explosion happened,” he said, while announcing Rs 5 lakh to each victim family.

However, he claimed that forces were taking preventive measures to avoid civilian killings.

He appealed people not to rush to the encounter sites.

Asked that thousands were rushing to encounter sites indicating increase in public uprising, he refused to comment.

He said there has been a “major” shift in security situation in the state.

“There has been reduction in stone pelting and in militant recruitment.”

Over the low voter turn-out in the urban local bodies’ polls, Singh said that polling percentage would have been better.

“But these polls were held peacefully and in a transparent manner. I hope people will come out to vote and parties will participate in panchayat polls. The urban local bodies and panchayat polls are to empower the grass root level of the state. These are to empower the people and for devolution of power,” he said.

His visit to Kashmir came few days after the concluding of urban local bodies elections in the state.

The overall poll percentage of all phases across the state was 35.1 percent.

Jammu recorded a voter turnout of 68.4 percent while in Kashmir it did not cross the two-digit number.

Singh also held a high-level meeting with Governor, Satya Pal Malik, where top civil, police and security forces were also be present to assess the prevailing security situation.

He also reviewed the Prime Minister’s development package.

He said that Union Home Ministry would provide 11,000 jobs to JK youth.

Besides he said that 2.5 lakh youth would be engaged in various centrally-sponsored schemes.

He also announced Rs 350 crore for the development of Dal Lake.

Terming corruption a “major disease” in JK, he said, “Major steps are being taken to eradicate the corruption. An action plan is also being framed in this regard.”

He said it was people to decide how far the JK got benefitted through the PDP-BJP government.