“We must understand the fact that radicalisation is not confined to only the Valley, but it is a global phenomenon. I can say that at global level, this radicalisation has increased at a rapid pace, whereas in Kashmir it is negligible. In fact, Muslims in India does not endorse radicalisation. For, Muslims in India have been living in a different culture and traditions for centuries. So they do not believe in radicalisation and in Kashmir too, there is a very miniscule section that has fallen prey to radicalisation. And we are striving hard to root out this menace through proper diagnosis of the Kashmir problem. As to how different is our diagnosis from the predecessor governments, I would like to say that one should not compare one’s performance with one’s predecessors. As regards strategy, I don’t claim that I did and will do everything. All the past governments did not want that terrorism should increase in Kashmir. They tried to contain terrorism and we are also making efforts to eliminate it,” said Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in an exclusive interview with Prakash Nanda and Deepak Kumar Rath. Excerpts:
How do you foresee the current situation in Kashmir, especially after the imposition of Governor’s rule?
In Kashmir, there is no normal situation. But I want to emphasise that we would normalise the situation and put an end to terrorist activities there. In this regard, necessary instructions have been given to security forces. I would like to mention that there is very fine coordination among the Army, CAPF and Jammu & Kashmir Police in carrying out effective measures against terrorists. Also it is our responsibility to provide security to the people of J&K–to infuse a sense of security and confidence into them. For, people of Kashmir are our people and we have to take steps, keeping in mind their interests. And we are doing it.
How is your diagnosis of the Kashmir problem different from that of the predecessor governments?
We have the real diagnosis of the Kashmir problem and there is no confusion about it. We are of the firm opinion that the majority of people in Kashmir are Indian and want to live with India. But owing to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and Pakistan-sponsored funding, there are some elements who are endeavouring to create a sense of alienation among the people of the Valley, but we will not let it happen.
But radicalisation has further aggravated the situation in the Valley.
We must understand the fact that radicalisation is not confined to only the Valley, but it is a global phenomenon. I can say that at global level, this radicalisation has increased at a rapid pace, whereas in Kashmir it is negligible. In fact, Muslims in India does not endorse radicalisation. For, Muslims in India have been living in a different culture and traditions for centuries. So they do not believe in radicalisation and in Kashmir too, there is a very miniscule section that has fallen prey to radicalisation. And we are striving hard to root out this menace through proper diagnosis of the Kashmir problem. As to how different is our diagnosis from the predecessor government, I would like to say that one should not compare one’s performance with one’s predecessors. As regards strategy, I don’t claim that I did and will do everything. All the past governments did not want that terrorism should increase in Kashmir. They tried to contain terrorism and we are also making efforts to eliminate it.
In the wake of the growing separatist tendencies and Pakistan’s proxy war in the state, we generally give more emphasis on law and order in the Valley, neglecting in the process the pathetic governance of the entire state for decades.
This is a major factor of the mis-governance of the Mehboob’s government. For the last two, three years, we had been observing that the people of the state were disenchanted with the performance of the Mehbooba government. When the PDP-BJP government was formed, they had a lot aspirations from the government, but those did not materialise. Consequently, the people of the state lost faith in the government. Given this scenario, we pulled out of the government. Now the Governor’s rule is imposed in the state and I assure everyone in the state that they will get efficient and effective governance in the state.
Now the Governor’s rule is imposed in J&K. What difficulties do you find in rooting out terrorism there?
Pakistan-sponsored terrorism is a big challenge for us, but our security forces are quite efficiently dealing with it. On the local level, some youth got radicalised and took the path of militancy. But we try to arrest those who can be arrested. And those who use their weapons on security forces are neutralised.
After the imposition of Governor’s rule, will there be a change in the role of interlocutor or will the process continue?
No, the process will continue. Anyone wants a dialogue, he is free to do so–whether it be a political, social or cultural organisation or an individual. We have not sent our interlocutor with his hands tied.
How would you put a curb on the incidents of stone pelting?
Such incidents create problems when they occur during funeral processions of terrorists, neutralised by security forces. Measures are being taken to contain such incidents but I don’t want to talk about those measures here.
Use of minimal forces to minimise the collateral damages is being talked about.
Everyone wants that during any operation, collateral damage should be minimised and we also want this.
Are you satisfied with the way Governor is handling the situation in J&K?
Yes. I am very satisfied with the way Governor is handling the situation in J&K.
Will the Governor get another term?
Right now, I cannot comment on this, but this is true that his term ended on June 26. Now we will see, though it is prerogative of the hon’ble President.
During the regime of Atal Behari Vajpayee, LK Advani talked with Hurriyat and Vajpayee himself went to Pakistan. Will this government talk with Hurriyat and Pakistan?
We have appointed an interlocutor in J&K for the purpose of dialogue. Whoever will talk with him, we will talk with him. We will not tell anyone that they should talk with us. India is not that weak and one should not have misconception about it. Whoever want to talk they should come forward. We will provide them suitable atmosphere but we will not go to one’s home for dialogue. If Pakistan wants dialogue, then it should first stop export of terrorism to India. Then we will talk with that country. We want to maintain good relations with all our neighbours and this is corroborated by the fact that in the swearing-in ceremony of the Prime Minister, he invited all Premiers of the neighbouring countries. This shows that we want good relations with our neighbours. Further, the Prime Minister went to Pakistan by breaking protocol. So, steps have been taken by our government in this regard.
What about the revival of political process in J&K?
I cannot predict about the future of the political process in the state.
Recently, Hurriyat leader Gilani came to Pakistan High Commission for tea. Should the government allow him for this?
Earlier, there was government in J&K and now there is Governor’s rule there. So, you will see the difference.
For the development of J&K, the Centre releases crores of rupees but this fund does not reach the persons concerned. For this corruption, some officers at the Centre and some in the state are held responsible. What would you say about this?
There is Governor’s rule in the state. If incidents of corruption come to the fore, then these will be dealt with appropriately.
What would you say on Article 370?
Now we talk on the present situation. On Article 370, we will talk some other time.
People are worried over security in Amarnath pilgrimage.
I myself is going to participate in Amarnath pilgrimage. However, I myself went to J&K 20-25 days ago to review the security scenario so that the Amarnath pilgrimage could be conducted smoothly. And now I am going for darshan of Lord Shiva.
Is there full-proof security in Amarnath pilgrimage?
We have made all efforts for full-proof security in Amarnath pilgrimage.
There is threat of floods in Kashmir.
The flood situation was grim last time in 2014 and the Centre extended all sorts of reliefs. Our Jawans of the Army, CAPF and NDRF left no stone unturned in helping the people there. I myself went there and supervised the relief work. Now, if need be, we will again provide all sorts of relief. But let’s pray to God that such a situation does not occur.
Are you confident that you will get people’s support in Kashmir? For, the last time the bye-election could not be held due disturbance there.
Yes, I am confident of getting public support in the state. Right now, we are looking to initiate local body election.
But the experiment of Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat and Insaniyat did not succeed there.
This concept was given by our leader Atal Behari Vajpayee and we also followed it. The majority of people in Kashmir believe in Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat and Insaniyat and only a very miniscule section, under the influence of Pakistan-supported terrorism, got misguided.
What is your reaction on Saifuddin Soz’s statement?
Very unfortunate statement by Soz. I don’t want to blame anybody on this issue. Also I don’t doubt anyone’s intention. Everybody must have taken initiatives, but these could not be materialised. But our government will try its best.
People also raised questions over PDP-BJP alliance.
No party got a clear mandate in the state. BJP got mandate in Jammu, whereas PDP got mandate in Kashmir. As per the mandate, we did a new experiment. In fact, the government was formed according to the mandate. In democracy, it is no crime to run a coalition government.