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No move against J&K sentiments: Rajnath Singh

The Supreme Court is hearing a plea by an RSS-backed NGO that has challenged special constitutional provisions made for J&K

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No move against J&K sentiments: Rajnath Singh
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh
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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday gave a much needed breather to beleaguered Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti when he assured that the Centre will not go against the sentiments of the people of Jammu and Kashmir on the issue of the state's special status.

The Supreme Court is hearing a plea by an RSS-backed NGO that has challenged special constitutional provisions made for J&K. Article 370 recognises special status to the state, while Article 35A empowers the J&K government to frame laws to bar all Indians — except original inhabitants — from purchasing immovable property, getting government jobs and availing of state-sponsored scholarship schemes.

"There is no reason for any doubt or apprehension. Unnecessarily, this issue is being raised. The Central government has not initiated anything nor has it gone to court. I want to assure you, not only on the issue of Article 35A, but whatever we do and our government will do, we will not do anything against the sentiments of the people. We will respect the sentiments," he said.

"I feel there was no issue left and that is why a non-issue was racked up. It is very unfortunate", Singh told reporters here before flying to Jammu.

Singh also spelled out broader contours of his much-awaited "permanent solution" to Kashmir's problems which he said would be based on five Cs — Compassion, Communication, Coexistence, Confidence building and Consistency — to bring peace and prosperity to the restive state.

Asked about people and organisations linked to RSS championing the cause for abrogating Article 35A, Singh said he was the Home Minister and a BJP leader and his words should be treated as right.

Minutes later, Mehbooba Mufti's Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) went gaga saying the Home Minister had endorsed its stand on Article 35 A. "Home Minister has endorsed our stand. Rajnath Singh has clarified that they would not do anything which is against the people of J&K", said Sartaj Madni, senior vice president of PDP. The Chief Minister has been under pressure from the Opposition which has been accusing her of not doing enough on the contentious issue.

The Home Minister also said children below 18 who have committed crime for the first time should not be treated liked criminals. "They should not be sent to prison. They should be sent to juvenile homes. I have suggested to Mehbooba ji to personally review such matters. They should be properly counselled", he said

"I will make 50 visits a year if needed to ensure peace and prosperity," he said and added that the situation in the Valley has improved compared to last year.

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