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Narendra Modi is treading the path shown by Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Najma Heptullah

Sunday, 17 August 2014 - 5:42pm IST | Place: Srinagar | Agency: PTI

Union Minister for Minority Affairs Najma Heptullah on Sunday said Foreign Secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan would be able to break the ice between the two nations only if the intention of the neighbouring country was good. 

"If their intention is good, then it surely will (break the ice). Our intention is good. The intention of our leader (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) is good, otherwise he would not have invited (Pakistan Prime Minister) Nawaz Sharif in his oath ceremony. There has been a forward movement from our side but it takes two to tango," Heptullah told reporters here.

The Union Minister said the move by Pakistan High Commissioner to India, Abdul Basit, to invite separatist leaders from Kashmir for consultations at Delhi ahead of the talks between the two countries on August 25 in Islamabad would "certainly hamper" the atmosphere built for the talks.

"Yes, certainly. The atmosphere is getting good from our side and now they have to see how good their intention is," she said. 

Heptullah said people should not have any apprehensions about the Modi government as they have seen the work done by the previous BJP government and how former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee offered a hand of friendship to Pakistan.

"People had suspicions that first time the BJP had come to power with such a majority and I don't know why they had such suspicions. People had seen Vajpayee's government – what he did for Kashmir and for India and Pakistan relations.

"No other prime minister in the world has travelled in a bus to other country with a message of friendship. Vajpayee went to Pakistan and offered a hand of friendship. I am sure, had Vajpayee won again in 2004 elections, the situation in Kashmir would have been different," she said.

She said PM Modi was treading the same path as Vajpayee and wants to take along the neighbouring countries.

"Modi is treading the path shown by Vajpayee. The first evidence of that was when he called Sharif for his oath ceremony. And on August 15, he did not only talk about the development and prosperity of our own country, but called on the leaders of SAARC countries to come together and move forward," she said.

The Minority Affairs Minister said Muslims were the most backward community among the minorities. "Last week I met Modi. He told me that Muslims had not got the rights that a person should get for living," she said, adding "We have to shove away hatred. Our government under Modi talks about unity and brotherhood. He says ‘together with all, development for all’."

She said the Kashmiri Pandits here have suffered a lot and the Centre wants that they should return to the Valley.

"They were made to leave their homes. Many of them are living in camps in Jammu, Delhi and elsewhere in the country. Is it not a loss for humanity? Is it not a violation of human rights? I am happy that Finance Minister allocated a separate amount for their rehabilitation in the budget, so that they return to their homes and with you together recreate the atmosphere of brotherhood," she said. 




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