The situation in Kashmir Valley has improved significantly over the past year and some green shoots of peace are visible, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday as he expressed willingness to meet every stakeholder to resolve long-standing issues.
Singh, who is on a four-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, told reporters that the tree of peace in Kashmir has not dried up and that a permanent solution to Kashmir issue is based on five 'C's—compassion, communication, coexistence, confidence building and consistency.
"After meeting the delegations and holding meetings here, I understand that the situation in Kashmir has greatly improved. I don't want to claim that everything is completely fine but things are improving, this I can say with firm belief," Singh said. He said during his visit he has interacted with police and CRPF personnel and he will also meet the army personnel.
"I am willing to meet anyone who wants to help us in resolving problems of Kashmir. There is no question of a formal or informal invitation. Those who want to talk should come forward. I always come here with an open mind," Singh said when asked if the government was ready to hold talks with separatists.
"If need be, I will visit Kashmir 50 times in a year. We will continue our efforts to bring peace here and this is our firm conviction," Rajnath said.
He said the government does not want to leave out any of the stakeholders with whom dialogue should be held.
The Home minister asked Pakistan to stop infiltrating militants in the state so that peace with dignity can be restored. "While paying tributes to ASI Abdul Rasheed, I again saw the picture of his daughter Zohra. I cannot forget her face. We want smile and happiness on the face of every youth of Kashmir and we will continue our efforts in this regard," he said. Rasheed was shot at and injured by militants in Anantnag district. He later died at a hospital.
The government, he said, had made sincere efforts for improving relations with all neighbouring countries including Pakistan right from the day it took office in May 2014.
"The Prime Minister invited premiers of all neighbouring countries to the oath ceremony. The intent was clear that we invited them not for shaking hands but for heart to heart relations. The Prime Minister broke all protocol and went there to attend a function. We made all out efforts.
On the legal challenge to Article 35A of the Constitution, which bars people from outside Jammu and Kashmir to acquire immoveable property in the state, Singh said the Centre has neither initiated any action nor gone to the court in this regard.
"There is no reason for doubt or speculation on this issue. Unnecessarily an issue is being made out. Central government has not initiated any process on this issue, we have not gone to the court. I want to assure that I am not talking about only Article 35A, whatever our government does, we will not do anything against the sentiments of the people here. We will continue to respect that.
Singh said he has reviewed the Rs 80,000 crore Prime Minister's Development Package (PMDP) for Jammu and Kashmir and work is going on the projects under this programme. He said the Centre will launch a special promotional drive to promote tourism in Kashmir.