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Srinagar Lynching Most Unholy Act in the Month of Ramzan: Jitendra Singh

The agents of unrest have made sure that their own children are law abiding citizens in some of the best metros abroad, but they also ensure their neighbour’s children become stone pelters and sacrifice their lives, the minister said.

Marya Shakil | CNN-News18maryashakil

Updated:June 23, 2017, 10:33 PM IST
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Srinagar Lynching Most Unholy Act in the Month of Ramzan: Jitendra Singh
Union Minister Jitendra Singh, who grew up in Kashmir, talks about the Kashmir unrest. (File photo)
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New Delhi: When a mob attacked and lynched Deputy SP Mohammed Ayub Pandith at Srinagar’s Jamia mosque on Thursday night, it didn’t matter that he was a local boy. Like Lt Ummer Fayaz or Feroz Dar before him, Pandit was hunted down and killed.

It was another incident that proved Kashmir’s insurgency is increasingly claiming its own. When will this spiral of violence end? Speaking to CNN-News18’s Marya Shakil, Union Minister Jitendra Singh answers the burning question.

Q: A Deputy Superintendent of Police has been stripped, dragged and lynched by a mob in Srinagar. How is the Centre viewing it?

A: I certainly think it’s a matter of concern and it’s not only the government that holds this view. Any right thinking citizen, any patriotic citizen, would feel disturbed by it. But at the same time, let us reassure that the Centre and the Ministry of Home Affairs is taking cognizance of the entire sequence of events. You would have realised that in the last few weeks, certain decisive steps have been taken both against separatists as well as perpetrators of terrorism in Kashmir valley.

Certain investigations and exercises have also been initiated, the results of which have begun to show. The fact is that this kind of decisive action through combat operations as well as tough measures against separatists and the terror lobby has not been taken together before this.

Q: There is a view within the security establishment that what happened in Srinagar was not a spontaneous mob action, it was a pre-meditated and pre-planned murder.

A: I am not privy to that type of confidential information. Whether it was planned or otherwise, the act was so dastardly, so inhuman and so cowardly. If it was planned, it is all the more condemnable. At the same time, I think this also disrobes and unmasks the so-called self-styled protagonists of Kashmir who wage a war in the holy name of jihad, in the holy name of so-called freedom struggle.

If this is the kind of war they want to fight in the name of religion, then I think there couldn't have been a more irreligious act. I think this is possibly the most unholy act committed in the holy month of Ramzan. So, I think it will be an eye-opener for the masses, and hopefully, the youth of Kashmir.

These agents of unrest have made sure that their own children are law abiding citizens in some of the best metros abroad, but they also ensure their neighbour’s children become stone pelters and sacrifice their lives.

I am more disappointed by some of those so-called Kashmir-centric mainstream politicians. When they are in power they swear by Kashmir being a part of India, they swear by India, but when they are not in power, they find it convenient to speak the language of separatists.

Q: Why is the government giving ‘Z’ security to these separatists? You spend crores every year protecting separatists who encourage the killing of policemen. Don’t you think the security should be withdrawn from Mirwaiz and others like him?

A: Yes, you have a relevant point. This must be the sentiment of every right thinking patriotic Indian at this point of time. Let me assure you that the present government is doing more than what has ever been done and is actively pursuing this issue.

Investigations and inquiries have been initiated against such kinds of privileges made available to them by the erstwhile government. I can say with full confidence that this process of investigation and placing a check on them is going to be carried forward to a logical conclusion in my command.

Q: Talking about the politics, questions are being raised by the Opposition about what your government is doing in the state. Rahul Gandhi has just tweeted to say that PDP-BJP government has been a complete failure.

A: Unfortunately, what is being said by the Congress party or its leadership is very selective and motivated. Motivated because they are yet to digest the fact that they are out of power and it is a BJP coalition.

But let me remind you that what is being witnessed in Kashmir today is actually a consequence of the various follies, pitfalls and blunders committed by the Congress party, which was in power in both the Centre and J&K for almost half a century.

These pitfalls, follies and experiments began with what is now historically described as Nehruvian blunders. I don’t know whether Mr. Rahul Gandhi has read the history of his great grandfather.

Q: Your government has publicly said the Kashmir unrest is limited to three and a half districts of south Kashmir, but this lynching took place in heart of Kashmir. Don’t you think your own assessment of Kashmir is also wrong?

A: Not precisely, because these are intricate security related matters. Sometimes, things that appear true to us may not actually be true. Security agencies have access to certain inputs not available publicly and it should not be made available publicly.

What is being witnessed today and what we have been given to understand by security agencies is that militants and terrorists are under tremendous pressure. They are on the run, and therefore, they are trying different strategies to keep themselves relevant. You must have seen the number of terrorists being killed every day.

A virtual hit list of terrorists is prepared by forces, and as a fallout some occasional spill over may happen, but we should not draw final conclusions based on it.

Q: 2017 has been the deadliest year for cops in Kashmir. Till date, 17 policemen have been martyred. Are you not worried that there is a new trend emerging that Kashmir insurgency is consuming its own people now?

A: Certainly. A soldier is precious to the nation and one can’t make up for the loss of a soldier. The nation is eternally indebted to its security forces. It is because of them that you and I can conduct this conversation in a peaceful environment.

They spend sleepless nights, they stay hungry when we go about with our daily routine. So there is no redemption for the supreme sacrifice of our brave soldiers.

This trend of consuming its own would be yet another eye opener for the innocent masses of Kashmir, who have been for generations held to ransom by these handful of self-styled Kashmiri protagonists who have ruled over the state one after the other. In order to keep their dynastic succession, they indulge in this kind of politicking at the cost of the innocent lives of Kashmiris.

Q: Cops in J&K say they are now becoming cannon fodder as there seems to be a clear instruction from the state government to go slow on the big fish and just arrest the young stone pelters.

A: I am not in a position to respond to that because that’s a very technical question. Only a person concerned with these security operations would be able to answer.

But as a rule, and on principle, I think when a war has been waged against terrorism, there cannot be discrimination in dealing with terrorists or perpetrators of terrorism.

Q: Why is the Centre and the state government in denial about the mess that Kashmir has become? Don’t you think the spiraling violence which started with Burhan Wani’s killing last year has failed to cease?

A: No. If you look at it that way, you will have to go back 25-28 years. There is a long history of militancy in the state. Over the last three decades, there have been phases when there were upsurges and then a calm. There have phases of violence in the ’90s, and very recently in 2008, 2010 and 2011.

Unfortunately, the Congress and other parties resort to blaming us. I don’t want to go into statistics because two wrongs do not make one right. Therefore, we should not justify killings happening during our government by comparing it to what happened under Congress rule. But if you look at statistics, there were more killings under the Congress government.

Therefore, what is happening today is in fact the cumulative baggage that we inherited.

Q: You are calling it a cumulative baggage that you inherited. Since it is a baggage of history and a baggage of past, do you really have a plan for Kashmir?

A: At the outset, this question does not qualify to be a question because J&K is a state of India just like any other state, whether it is Uttar Pradesh, Bihar or Andhra Pradesh. Therefore, we should not have a plan separate from any other state. As far as foreign instigated militancy, which is perpetuated and encouraged by certain vested-interests locally, is concerned, I think the government of India and its might is capable of dealing with it.

More than 65% of the population wishes to come out of this phase of militancy. They want to be a part of the development journey led by Prime Minister Modi. This is a well-connected global world and they see the enormous new opportunities and avenues available to the youth in the other states and they do not wish to be left out.

Therefore, for J&K, we have the same plans as we have for any other state of India. The plan is that of ‘vikas, vikas and vikas’ (development, development and development).
| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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