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Want “emotional” relationship with people of Kashmir: Rajnath

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Srinagar: Reaching out to the people in Kashmir, the Centre today said it wanted to have “emotional” ties with them and not a need-based relationship and expressed the willingness to talk to whosoever needed once peace and normalcy is restored in the Valley.

Winding up his two-day visit to Kashmir in the backdrop of widespread disturbances that has claimed 46 lives so far, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said security forces have been directed to refrain from using pellet guns against crowds as much as possible even as he awaits a report of a committee set up by him to look into the use of non-lethal weapons.

During his stay in the Valley, Rajnath met 30 delegations including a government team led by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and an opposition National Conference(NC) team headed by Omar Abdullah. The Congress stayed away from deliberations with the Home Minister.

In a memorandum submitted to the Home Minister, the NC asked the Centre to initiate a sustained dialogue with Pakistan as well as separatists groups in Jammu and Kashmir for evolving a consensus for a mutually acceptable solution to the political issue.

Sending a strong message to Pakistan at a press conference at the end of his visit to Srinagar and Anantnag, Rajnath warned the neighbouring country not to interfere in India’s internal affairs and that it should change its attitude and approach towards Kashmir. “There is no need of any third force to improve situation in Kashmir. Pakistan’s role is not “paak” (pure) towards Kashmir.”

“As far as Government of India is concerned, I want to make it clear that we don’t just want need-based ties, but to build an emotional relationship with Kashmir,” he said, reaching out to the people in the Valley while making a fervent appeal to them to help restore peace and normalcy in the state.

Rajnath said the Centre will talk to whosoever needed once peace and normalcy is restored in the state.

To a question on whether there will be any talks with separatists, Singh said, “Let normalcy and peace be restored first. We will talk to the chief minister here and we will work only after taking her into confidence.” “Let us first ensure that normalcy returns. Then, we will talk to whoever we want.”

He said the government would review the use of pellet guns and a committe has already been set up by him to look into the use of non-lethal weapons which will give its report in two months.

PTI

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