October 2017 News

On Kashmir Dialogue, Minister Doesn't Agree Entirely With Rajnath Singh

25 October 2017

New Delhi: Home Minister Rajnath Singh has described the appointment of former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma as a big step towards ensuring peace in the Kashmir Valley. But one of his colleagues, Jitendra Singh, appears to have a slightly different view. There is 'nothing new or different' about the announcement, says Jitendra Singh, the Minister of State for the Prime Minister's Office. 'The announcement is just an extension of the outreach by the government. There is nothing new about it or nothing different... the policy toward Jammu and Kashmir always has been consistent,' Jitendra Singh told NDTV on Tuesday. According to the minister, who is a parliamentarian from the state, dialogue had never stopped. 'It's an effort to institutionalise the process of dialogue. When the Home Minister went to Kashmir, he met so many people so dialogue always existed there,' he said, adding that if it is perceived as a change, it is a change for the better. Mr Singh also ridiculed National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah for his comments on the interlocutor. 'When in power and out of it he says two different things,' he commented. Ads by ZINC Mr Abdullah had suggested that the interlocutor should talk to Pakistan also. 'The Kashmir issue is a political problem. It is not only talking to people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh...they have to talk to Pakistan also. Pakistan is also one of the parties to the problems of the state,' he had told reporters. The minister also spoke on the arrest of Syed Salahuddin's son, a government official, on charges of terror funding a day after the announcement of dialogue and the National Investigation Agency's continued crackdown on separatist leaders. 'Dialogue does not mean amnesty,' Mr Singh said. The view is shared by Dineshwar Sharma, who had told NDTV on Monday. 'Dialogue is different. Investigative agencies do investigations on some specific issue specific violations,' he told NDTV. 'The crackdown is on people who have violated laws. Kashmir has a huge population... I don't think eight to 10 cases would make a difference,' he added.