Avoid using pellet guns, Rajnath Singh tells security forces on Kashmir visit

Rajnath Singh in Kashmir
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has urged the youth of Kashmir not toengage in stone-pelting and also asked security forces to refrain from using pellet guns against protesters. Rajnath also took a strong stand against Pakistan‘s role in the ongoing tensions in the Kashmir Valley, asking Islamabad to desist encouraging Kashmiri youth from taking up arms.

“We do not need the involvement of any third party to address the situation in Kashmir,” said Rajnath Singh, at the end of a two-day visit to the troubled Valley.

He also sought to allay tensions , saying, “As far as the Centre is concerned, we are clear that we don’t not want a relationship with Kashmir that is based on necessities. We want a relationship that is based on emotional bonds,” he said.

“I would like to tell our neighbouring country , you yourself are affected by terrorism. You had to storm the Lal Masjid to kill the terrorists. But on the other hand, you appeal to Kashmiri youth to take up arms,” he said. “They are not pak (pure)when it comes to Kashmir,” Rajnath added.

He said all steps were being taken to ensure a return to normalcy in Kashmir. “I urge the youth of Kashmir not to engage in stone-pelting and also ask the security forces to refrain from using pellet guns against protestors as far as possible,” he said. Rajnath also repeated the statement he had made in Parliament, that a special committee has been asked to report on non-lethal weapon alternatives to pellet guns.

“I have spoken with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and assured her that any injured persons who are unable to get proper medical treatment here can be sent to Delhi for treatment. We will ensure they are treated at AIIMS,” he said.

Rajnath also held off questions from reporters on the politics behind the calming the situation in the Kashmir Valley. “Let us first ensure that normalcy returns. Then, we can decide whether we talk to separatists or any other group,” he said.

Rajnath said 2228 personnel of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, 1100 CRPF personnel and 2259 civilians have been injured in the violence in the aftermath of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani.