Not Looking Towards Separatists, Determined To Provide Relief: HM

12 September 2014
The Daily Excelsior

New Delhi: Ignoring attempts by some separatists to disrupt relief operations in Kashmir Valley, Government today asserted that its main focus was on providing succour to people affected by the worst-ever floods in 109 years. 'We have closed our eyes. We are not looking towards them (separatists). We are determined to provide relief to people, no matter how difficult the situation is. The relief and rescue mission will continue,' Home Minister Rajnath Singh said at a press conference here. His remarks came at the backdrop of reports that some separatists were trying to instigate people in the State to pelt stones at rescue teams. Singh said the Government's main focus is on how to rescue maximum number of people and provide relief to maximum people. He said of the 1,200 affected villages in Kashmir Valley, 400 were completely submerged under water and 1.3 lakh people were rescued by Army, Air Force, Navy and NDRF teams. 'This is the worst floods in Kashmir in 109 years. 1,200 villages in Kashmir and 1,100 villages in Jammu were affected by floods. In Kashmir, 400 villages were completely submerged while 300 villages in Jammu were completely submerged. 'Five districts in Kashmir and six districts in Jammu were affected. The Union Home Secretary is in Srinagar and is coordinating rescue and relief operations and trying to expedite the process,' he said. Asked how many people were still stranded under flood waters, Singh said actual estimates will be possible only 'when waters recede'. Singh said disaster relief funds of Rs 1,100 crore was with the Jammu and Kashmir Government and 90 per cent of this money was contributed by the Centre. 'I have told the Chief Minister for maximum utilisation of funds. The Prime Minister also said that there will be no shortage of funds,' he said. Asked whether there is a possibility of postponement of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir till next summer, he said, 'It is the Election Commission which will decide on the issue. If the EC seeks our suggestion, we will give our inputs.' Singh remained non-committal over the possible impact of flood on the schedule of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir and held that the Election Commission is to take the call on the issue. Responding to a question about possibility of change in the Assembly elections' schedule due to unprecedented flood situation in that State, Singh said that the Election Commission would take a decision about the Assembly elections, it is the EC's jurisdiction. Asked whether the Home Ministry would like to express its opinion or recommendations over the issue in view of prevailing abnormal situation in the flood-ravaged State, the Home Minister said, 'We will convey our views taking in consideration all aspect, but only when the opinion is sought by the Commission.' The NDA Government will not discriminate against anyone in the country on the basis of religion, Singh said. 'Minorities should have faith in our Government. We will not discriminate against anyone in the name of religion or caste. We will ensure justice to everyone. Injustice will not happen to anyone,' he said. Singh was replying to a question on alleged incarceration of many 'innocent' Muslim youth in terror charges in different jails in the country. 'If you have any information about anyone specific, please let me know. I will inquire into it,' he told the reporter who asked the question. Singh sought to dispel apprehensions about the reports of expansion of the Jehadi outfit - Al-Qaeda - saying people in India need not worry about any such threat. Singh said, 'Authenticity of the contents of the so called CD that spoke of Al-Qaeda's announcement for the floating of its wing in India is yet to be verified.' Security agencies are still examining the CD contents. However, the nation is not required to be worried of such threats as we are all ready and capable of taking on any sort of challenge, the Home Minister asserted. 'Neither we are worried of withdrawal of the NATO forces from Afghanistan as we are keeping a vigil eye over the development and can face any possible challenge out of the process,' he said. Whether this issue of Al-Qaeda would figure during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's US visit, the Home Minister said if US wanted to talk over it they are ready. He also avoided to give much significance to activities of another Talibani outfit ISIS, saying that it did not have any influence in India. All Muslims and their outfits and religious body are against the activities of this outfit and have been condemned strongly its role and activities, Mr Singh said. He held that there was no substance in reports of Indian recruits in the ISIS.