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Talks, Yes; Terror, No: Rajnath Singh

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Regrets civilian killings; announces Rs 5 lakh compensation for kin of Kulgam blast victims

Srinagar, Oct 23: The Centre is ready to hold talks with anyone including Pakistan “but terror and dialogue can never go together,” Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said here Tuesday.

Singh, who met representatives of various political parties in Srinagar, said he has appealed to all of them to participate in the upcoming Panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Biggest of problems can be faced and issues resolved through democratic means. Many problems of Jammu and Kashmir can also be addressed through democracy. I appeal to people of the state to take part in this festival of democracy," he said at a press conference here.

Singh said those who do not believe in democracy can never be well-wishers of people.

The National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party had boycotted the recent urban bodies election in Jammu and Kashmir.

Singh told reporters that as far as talks are concerned, the government has no problem in holding dialogue with anyone.

"At least, they should see that Pakistan is sponsoring terrorism in India and promoting terrorism also. Give us this much of assurance that there will not be any such attempt by Pakistan. Terror and dialogue both can never go together," he said.

Asked if there was any initiative to hold talks with the separatists, Singh said the government will talk to anyone who is willing to enter into a dialogue.

Singh, who arrived for a day-long visit to Kashmir today, also appealed to people in Kashmir not to go near sites where operations by government forces are in progress.

On Sunday, seven civilians were killed in a blast at an encounter site in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district where three militants were also killed.

Addressing a news conference at Nehru Guest House in Srinagar, Singh termed as "very unfortunate" the death of seven civilians in the blast and asked people to not venture such places where “security operations” were on.

The minister also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh for next of kin of the deceased.

"There has been an incident in Kulgam. I have been informed that some civilians have been killed in it. It is very unfortunate. I have been told that the operation had concluded and the security forces had left but some people went there and an explosion took place due to some reason. We are pained at the loss of lives," Singh told reporters here.

Singh said he wanted to convey his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. "The price of a life cannot be set in monetary terms but still I announce an ex-gratia relief of Rs five lakh for each affected family," he said.

The Home Minister, who reviewed the security situation in the state, said that with the cooperation of people, turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir will end and the state will join the queue of developed states of India.

"If there is an operation by security forces, I appeal the people that they should not try to go there. The security forces do take precautions and we have repeatedly directed them to do it," he said.

Singh said during the discussions with officials and various delegations, the issue of constructing a good road for border residents in Keran, Tangdhar, Kargil, Drass, Machil and Gurez was raised.

"I have directed the Road Transport Ministry to prepare a detailed project report for it. This road will be constructed," he said.

HM announces new highway from Kargil to Gurez

Meets Governor Malik

Srinagar, Oct 23: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today announced that a new highway would be constructed in Jammu and Kashmir along the border from Kargil to Gurez.

He made this announcement at a high-level meeting convened here today to review the implementation of various developmental initiatives in the state.

Governor Satya Pal Malik, Advisors to the Governor, B B Vyas, K Vijay Kumar and Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, Union Home Secretary, Rajiv Gauba, J&K Chief Secretary, BVR Subrahmanyam, state’s administrative secretaries and other senior officers of the Central and the State government were present at the meeting.

The Union Home Minister said that the Ministry for Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH), Government of India has been asked to prepare the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the new highway taking off at Kargil in Ladakh and culminating at Gurez in district Bandipora after traversing through Machhil, Keran and Tangdhar.

The Union Home Minister also took a detailed review of the projects being implemented under the Prime Minister’s Development Programme (PMDP), the Dal Lake Conservation programme, establishment of five new battalions of Indian Reserve Police (IRP) in the state, progress of capacity building of local youth under Himayat, Udaan and Prime Minister’s Kaushal Vikas Yojana, Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) for J&K students, creation of sports infrastructure and educational exchange programmes, an official press release informed.

It said Rajnath Singh also reviewed the progress on relief disbursement to Pakistan-administered-Kashmir and West Pakistan Refugees, employment package for migrants under PMDP, BADP and construction of bunkers along the International Border and LoC. He also took a detailed review of the developmental issues of Ladakh.

J&K Chief Secretary sought the Union Home Minister’s intervention to get Industrial Development Package on the pattern of Northeast Industrial Development Scheme extended to J&K which has extra incentives for the entrepreneurs. He also sought a special dispensation of Rs 1724 crore for land acquisition under PMGSY which has not been factored in from Phase-X to Phase-XII.

The Chief Secretary also sought additional Rs 759 crore for Srinagar Ring Road Project and relaxation in SDRF norms for purchase of equipment.

The Union Home Minister also separately chaired a high-level security review meeting to review the overall security scenario in the State.

Speaking at the meeting he complimented the State administration, the police and the paramilitary forces for ensuring smooth, free and fair conduct of Urban Local Body polls in the state.

He also took stock of the overall security scenario in the state in run up to the conduct of Panchayat polls.

In the afternoon the Union Home Minister held one-on-one meetings with the former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti. He also met political delegations separately from NC, PDP, Congress and BJP.

On the last leg of his day-long visit, the Union Home Minister addressed a press conference at Nehru Guest House.

Earlier on his arrival at the Technical Airport here, the Union Home Minister was received by Advisor to the Governor K Vijay Kumar, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, Principal Secretary Home, R K Goyal, Director General Police, Dilbag Singh and other senior officers of the civil and police administration.

Meanwhile, Rajnath Singh, who arrived here today on a day long visit to the state, held discussions with Governor Satya Pal Malik at Raj Bhavan on various important issues relating to security management, implementation of development programmes and positive engagement of the youth in the state, an official press release informed.

It said Governor assured Home Minister that the State administration is taking every step required to ensure against any delay in the implementation of development schemes and welfare programmes, eradication of corruption, and redressal of public grievances.

“Singh congratulated the Governor on the peaceful and incident free conduct of polling during the recently held Urban Local Body elections, besides, assuring full support for the ensuing Panchayat elections,” press release informed.

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