Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Centre wants peaceful life in Kashmir: Jaitley

Centre wants peaceful life in Kashmir: Jaitley

Meanwhile, assuring troops that entire country was behind them, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley visited the forward areas on the Line of Control (LoC) in the north Kashmir today. He complimented the soldiers "for the level of preparedness and enthusiasm".

Jaitley, who also holds the finance portfolio, is in Kashmir to attend a two-day meeting of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council which began on Thursday.

After the meeting, the Defence Minister Jaitley said he was satisfied with the readiness of the Indian security forces to deal with any misadventure by the enemy.

"We will go very tough on the militants, especially those who have crossed over from the other side (Pakistan), because they are responsible for the situation (in the Kashmir Valley)", he said.

On the Centres refusal to engage with separatists in Jammu and Kashmir, Jaitley said "our priority is to restore normalcy, particularly in south Kashmir". A section of people has to be dealt with through security measures and a section by citizen-friendly measures.

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"It is very clear that terrorism and militancy are aimed against the Indian state, its sovereignty and the people of Jammu and Kashmir".

"The effect of their actions is that besides security personnel, it is the local citizens who are losing their lives".

On a national TV sting operation where few separatists had allegedly admitted "receiving funds from Pakistan", the Union Finance Minister said, "Such things are already known".

Jaitley said the government would like the average citizen in Jammu and Kashmir, irrespective of his political views, to be on the Indian side. "They have to be treated as a serious insurgency problem and dealt with accordingly". "Therefore, those who are indulging in violence of this magnitude are certainly to be held accountable for their actions", he said. But as far as those killing people are concerned, we can't provide similar facilities to them. "We want you to have a peaceful and prosperous life".

The defence minister asserted that the sentiments of the people would have to be addressed, but could be only done in a peaceful situation.

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Jaitley had first articulated India's position at a round table discussion on Asia's economic outlook organized by the Asian Development Bank earlier this month at Yokohama, Japan.

"I did visit the LoC".

"Our soldiers are fully confident that they will not allow any form of infiltration to take place".

General Officer Commanding of Baramulla-based Dagger Division, Major General R.P. Kalita, accompanied Jaitley to the LoC.

On the recent incident of army using a man as human shield during protests, the minister said an investigation is being carried out into the matter.

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The Kashmir Valley is facing a situation of unrest since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. "He was also briefed on the close coordination amongst all the government agencies towards bringing back normalcy in the region", the defence spokesman said.

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