Lucknow: Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said Pakistan was continuing with its antics and making efforts to break India, but in spite of that, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) had improved significantly.
He also said there was a decline in the incidents of extremism and that the credit for this should go to the followers of Islam in the country.
Speaking at an event organised by a newspaper here on Saturday, Singh said, “Pakistan is continuing with its antics and making efforts to break us, but the co-ordination among our Army, paramilitary forces, the Jammu and Kashmir Police and intelligence agencies has been excellent.”
He said there were 86,000 terror-related incidents in Jammu and Kashmir in 1995, adding that over the last one year, the number of such incidents had come down to 300 in that state.
Stating that there had been a significant improvement in the situation in the restive region, Singh pointed out that the Centre had already appointed a special representative (former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma) for a dialogue with all the stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir, including the Hurriyat leaders.
“The special representative will talk to all the stakeholders and recommend to the government of India as to what should be done to resolve the problems,” he added.
Replying to a question pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir, the home minister said, “When we are in the government, there is a direct conversation with the public. We are working in the direction of resolving problems.”
On the issue of rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley, he said, “Everyone wants them to be rehabilitated. There were talks with former (Jammu and Kashmir) chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and he had given his consent (to it). Later, the matter got stalled owing to disturbances there.”
Singh added that the issue of rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits was discussed with current Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti as well and that the latter had promised effective steps in this regard.
“We want to resolve the Kashmir issue by taking the people of Kashmir into confidence,” he said.
On a question on the Rohingya Muslims issue, the BJP leader blamed the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government for the current situation involving the refugees. He reiterated the Centre’s commitment to alleviating poverty and unemployment and said employment would be given to one crore youth of the country through its skill development programme.
“It is possible that the immediate effects may not be visible. But, tough decisions lead to long-term benefits. We want sabka saath, sabka vikas,” Singh said, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for the country.
On extremism, the home minister said, “There has been a decline in the incidents of extremism. The credit for this should go to the followers of Islam in India. “Indian Muslims are less radical as compared to the Muslims of the world. Hence, there is no danger to India from a terror outfit like the ISIS.”
Claiming that terrorism and Naxalism would gradually lose steam and would be eliminated by 2022, he said, “Advanced weapons are being given and advanced training is being imparted to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and other paramilitary forces. “In the Naxalism-hit areas, we have made an effort to reach out to the public and establish a dialogue with them. We are integrating the people with the process of development. Naxal activities are now confined to only five to seven districts in the country.”
Singh also said the number of battalions of the central paramilitary forces was being increased. “We are laying an emphasis on the use of technology and help is being sought from other countries in this regard,” he added.
On a question over the smog in Delhi-NCR, Singh said, “We want a pollution-free Delhi. Whatever steps are being taken by the Delhi government in this regard, we will support those initiatives.” The home minister also said the world had started realising that India was no longer a weak nation and that it belonged to the club of powerful countries in the world.
“At the international level, India’s importance has grown. The world realises that India, at this point of time, has emerged as the biggest economy in the world. India today is no longer a weak country, but in the club of the powerful nations of the world,” he said.
Replying to a question, the BJP leader said, “At certain places, there are more praises (for the government) and less criticism now. Whatever we had envisaged to achieve, we have achieved it.” On another question pertaining to the performance of the BJP-led government at the Centre over the last three years, Singh said he would not like to evaluate his own performance, but added that overall, the clout and credibility of the country had increased.