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Government withdrew cases against stone-pelters as ‘children’ err: Rajnath

Home minister urges separatist leaders to hold talks for peace in Jammu and Kashmir

Srinagar: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday that children can make mistakes and that is why the government decided to withdraw cases against youths who were misled into pelting stones at security personnel.

Addressing over 6,000 youth, mostly sportspersons, he said at the Sher-e-Kashmir Indoor Stadium here: “Children can make mistakes. That is why we decided to withdraw cases against those children who were misled into stone pelting.”

Singh said the Centre was concerned about the future of Jammu and Kashmir’s youth.

Defending the government’s decision last year to take back cases against over 6,000 youth booked for stone pelting, he said: “Children anywhere are the same. We understand that some youth were misled into stone pelting.

“I want to appeal to the youth that they should follow the path of development. They should not go on the path of destruction.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has great love for Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.

He lauded the state government for improving the sports infrastructure and assured that funds will not be a problem to promote sports in the state.

Singh also urged separatist leaders to hold talks for peace in Jammu and Kashmir, saying a dialogue needed “right-minded people” and not necessarily like-minded people to succeed.

“We can talk to anyone. We are open to talks with all. But talks should be for peace. For talks, you need not to speak to like-minded people but it is important to talk to right-minded people,” Rajnath Singh told reporters here.

He said the central government intended to open a dialogue in Kashmir and therefore appointed its Special Representative Dineshwar Sharma who visited the state 11 times since he was given the assignment in October last year.

“He doesn’t come here on tourist trips. He meets the people of the state to find solutions to their problems. I am sticking to what I said on my first visit to Kashmir (as Home Minister) that we want talks with every section of the society to resolve their problems.”

He said the BJP government was firmly committed to solve the problems of Kashmir and not to let it linger on.

The Home Minister is on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir to assess the security situation in the aftermath of the May 16 ceasefire announced by the central government during Ramadan.

—IANS

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