The situation in Kashmir had changed from “civil disobedience at its peak” and Hurriyat leaders “paralysing everything” with their hartal calls to “security forces having an upper hand today,” India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Wednesday.
“The government’s policy is (aimed) to normalise the situation in Kashmir and bring peace there. The government works on the basis of what steps are supposed to be taken to bring normalcy back to the Valley,” Jaitley was quoted as saying by news agency IANS in New Delhi.
“There was a situation when civil disobedience (in the Valley) was at its peak, when stone-pelters would come in thousands, terrorists could pick their targets as they wished and Hurriyat would give a call (for bandh) whenever they liked and paralyse everything,” he added.
“Today, the situation has changed. Security forces have an upper hand. It has become difficult for stone-pelters to gather a crowd. The Hurriyat has been exposed,” the minister said.
He was referring to the government’s proposal to withdraw cases against first-time offenders involved in stone-pelting during the 2016 “unrest”.
Jaitley said the government, through its “representative” for dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir Dineshwar Sharma , intended to engage all those interested in talks to resolve the Kashmir issue.
“In a situation like this, the government through its new initiative is engaging with those who want to talk. We are trying to bring back normalcy. What efforts are to be made will be decided by our special representative and the state government,” he said.