The Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh convened a meeting with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and National Conference (NC) to discuss J&K’s ‘special status’. The Supreme Court will hear petitions against Article 35A, which grants special rights and privileges to the locals on property and jobs
Mr. Singh invited all dignitaries to hold talks to resolve the problems in Kashmir. Addressing the media, he said, “We never opposed talks. All stakeholders are welcome.”
The talks would revolve around the 5 C’s of Kashmir—compassion, communication, coexistence, confidence-building, and consistency.
In June, National Investigation Agency had detained several separatist leaders, some of whom were minors. Bringing the situation to light, the Home Minister appealed to security agencies to ensure that minors were not taken into custody.
“Minors must be dealt under juvenile justice system, and not detained in jails. They must be properly counselled” he stated.
He informed that lesser people were injured during the crowd control this year.
According to the Union Home Minister, the PAVA guns were introduced to replace pellet guns, but were ineffective. He also appealed to Pakistan to ‘stop infiltrating terrorists into J&K.’
He invited tourists as well as tourist organizations to visit Kashmir to turn it into ‘heaven again.’
Meanwhile, Former Chief Minister and National Conference Working President Omar Abdullah welcomed Mr. Singh’s stand on Article 35A. However, Syed Ali Shah, Hurriyat Chairman, called for a “final settlement.”
“It is a very important statement from the Union Minister. His assurances will go a long way to silence the noises against 32A. The Union government must now file a counter-affidavit in the Supreme Court to defend 35A.” Mr. Abdullah said.
Article 35A was challenged thrice in the Supreme Court through three petitions. The petition hearing will be in November, 2017.