Resolving Kashmir issue will take some time: Rajnath

• NIA raids in Kashmir, Delhi, Haryana over terror funding • Army Chief calls on J&K Guv
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Agencies
NEW DELHI
3 Jun 2017

Vowing to uproot Pakistan- sponsored terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, Union home minister Rajnath Singh today asserted that the NDA government is working towards a permanent solution to the seven-decade-old Kashmir issue, though it may take some time.

Addressing a press conference on achievements of his ministry on completion of three years of the NDA government, Singh said the Centre is open to talks and will take the people of the state and political parties into confidence for resolving the Kashmir issue. "The solution to the Kashmir problem cannot be found by just snapping our fingers. Kashmir is an old issue, it has been going on since 1947," he said. Singh was replying to a question on his recent statement that the government was working on a permanent solution to the Kashmir issue. "We are working for a permanent solution. I have said this with utmost responsibility, after much thinking and deliberations. We have some plans and are working in this direction and will find a solid solution in future. It may take some time," the home minister said.

When asked by PTI whether the "permanent solution" will be political or a military one, the home minister avoided a direct reply but said it will be a "comprehensive and integrated solution". On the possibility of initiating dialogue with Kashmiri separatists, Singh said he has been advocating talks with all concerned ever since he took charge as home minister three years ago. "From the beginning, I have been saying that we are ready for talks. Whoever comes forward for talks, we will talk. We are open to talks to find a solution to the Kashmir issue.
All problems can be resolved only through dialogue," he said. The home minister blamed Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir but stressed that the violence will not last long. "There is no doubt, no confusion that Pakistani is fomenting terror in Kashmir. But we will ensure that terrorism is uprooted from Kashmir soon. The violence will not last long," he said.

Singh said Pakistan has been sponsoring terrorism in Kashmir for its vested interests. "Whatever Pakistan is doing in Kashmir is a betrayal to the youths of the state," he said, adding "we will not let them succeed in this".
"We don't want to see stones in the hands of Kashmiri youths. We want to remove any stone which can impede their path to a brighter future," the minister said. Meanwhile, in a pre-dawn swoop, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) today raided 23 locations in Kashmir, Haryana and the national capital in connection with a case of alleged funding received by separatist groups for carrying out subversive activities in the Valley.
After registering an FIR earlier this week, various NIA teams, which had been camping in the Valley for few days, moved under heavy escort from their camp office located at Humhama, on the outskirts of the Srinagar city. Among those raided by the NIA were Altaf Fantoosh, the son-in-law of hardline leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, businessman Zahoor Watali, Shahid-ul-Islam, leader of Awami Action Committee led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, and some second rung separatist leaders belonging to both factions of the Hurriyat Conference and the JKLF.

The agency seized nearly Rs 1.5 crore from various locations in the Kashmir Valley, besides documents which were being scrutinised, officials said. This is for the first time since militancy raised its ugly head in early 1990s that a central probe agency has carried out raids in connection with terror funding to separatists which has been used for carrying out subversive activities in the Valley. Earlier in 2002, Income Tax department had carried out searches against separatist leaders, including Geelani, and seized cash and other documents. However, no criminal case had been registered then. While no separatist leader from the Valley has been named in the FIR registered by the NIA, organisations like the Hurriyat Conference (factions led by Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq), Hizbul Mujahideen, Dukhtaran-e-Milat and Lashker-e- Taiba besides Pakistan-based chief of Jamaat-ul Dawah Hafeez Saeed have been mentioned.

In a related development, Army chief General Bipin Rawat called on Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra here and discussed the internal and external security management issues in the state. Rawat met Vohra at the Raj Bhavan here last night, an official spokesman said.
The meeting comes after the Army concluded its security review and operational preparedness meetings spanning over two days in Kashmir Valley. Rawat informed the Governor about the Army operational review which concluded earlier last evening, the spokesman said. He said the governor and the Army chief discussed several important inter-related internal and external security management issues, and the steps required to be taken for dealing with terrorist activities more effectively.