No talks with Pakistan, says Indian minister

Published October 6, 2022
Indian Home Minister Amit Shah speaks in Baramulla on Wednesday. — Photo courtesy: Twitter
Indian Home Minister Amit Shah speaks in Baramulla on Wednesday. — Photo courtesy: Twitter

NEW DELHI: Indian Home Minister Amit Shah, in his first rally in Indian-held Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, ruled out talks with Pakistan, accusing it of fomenting terrorism.

Speaking in Baramulla for the first time since the abrogation of Article 370 that granted special status to Indian-held Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), Mr Shah focused his ire on the “three families that ruled Kashmir for seventy years”.

The Indian Express quoted him as saying that elections to the Indian-held J&K Assembly would be held as soon as the election commission completes the process of revision of electoral rolls.

“Some people are giving me suggestions that I should talk to Pakistan, those who have ruled here for seventy years are giving me suggestions,” Mr Shah told the rally. “But I am clear, I don’t want to talk to Pakistan. I would talk to Gujjars and Paharis of Baramulla. I will talk to the youth of Kashmir.

“They (Pakistan) have spread terrorism here. What good have they done for Kashmir.”

Read: FO rebukes Indian foreign minister’s comment implying Pakistan’s involvement in terrorism

The rally was held in Baramulla amid multi-tier security arrangements, the Express said.

It was attended by over 10,000 people, most of whom were from the areas near the Line of Control like Tangdhar, Uri and Bandipora.

Mr Shah used a large part of his 25-minute speech to slam the “three families that have ruled Kashmir for 70 years”. While the BJP leaders have often hit out at the families of Abdullahs and Muftis, it was for the first time that Shah brought Gandhis, too, in the line of his attack.

“I saw a tweet of Mehbooba (Mufti) ji. She had said that the home minister should go back only after giving account of what they have given to Kashmir,” Mr Shah said. “Mehbooba ji, listen with open ears and eyes, what we have done, I will give its account, but what you and Farooq (Abdullah) Sahib have done, you should give that account later…

“I have come here to ask you, Mehbooba and Farooq Sahib, tell us how much investment has come to Kashmir in 70 years, how many industries have been set up, how many factories have been opened and how many youth have been given employment.

“(There has been an investment of) only 15,000 crore (rupees) in 70 years. In three years, (prime minister) Modi ji brought an investment of 56,000 crore.”

The home minister said the Modi government’s “achievement” was to take democracy to the grassroots in held Jammu and Kashmir. “Before that democracy was limited to 87 legislators, six parliamentarians and three families — Mufti family, Abdullah family and Gandhi family,” he claimed. “We have taken it to villages, to 30,000 panches and sarpanches (local bodies).”

Mr Shah said 42,000 people had been killed in J&K due to terrorism since 1990. “Who is responsible for the deaths of these 42,000 people? The three families, who ruled Kashmir for 70 years, are responsible,” he alleged. “You know the most difficult thing is to shoulder the coffin of your son. But 42,000 people have been killed here. Has the son of any leader been killed ever?

“We want that the fear of separatism should go away from Kashmir, terrorism should go away and Kashmir becomes the paradise of India.”

He said Kashmir was a “hotspot of terrorism” earlier, but had now turned into a “hotspot of tourism” under the BJP dispensation.

Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2022

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