No interlocutor on Kashmir: Rajnath

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has ruled out appointment of any interlocutor on Jammu and Kashmir saying such practices had been “non-productive” in the past.

The Home Minister also made it clear that he was not averse to talks and took a veiled dig at separatist conglomerate Hurriyat Conference saying he was against non-productive talks by anti-nationals “to burnish their own political image”.

The Minister was asked that since Joint Intelligence Chief N Ravi was appointed as an interlocutor for the Northeast, whether a similar proposal for Kashmir was on the cards.

“How long can we go on appointing interlocutors? The practices of the past which are non-productive must be discontinued. Therefore, I am not in favour of appointing interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir.

“Now the time has come to have a rethink on appointing interlocutors. Having said this, let me clarify that I am not averse to talks. But I am also not in favour of non-productive talks which are carried out by anti-nationals to burnish their own political image in either Jammu and Kashmir or the Northeast,” he was quoted as having said in an interview to a fortnighly magazine ‘Governance Now’.

Academician Radha Kumar, veteran journalist Dileep Padgaonkar and M M Ansari had been interlocutors on Kashmir during UPA rule.

The Home Minister said government was keen on restoring peace in the northeast by empowering people and “not those who are working against the country?s interests.

About the initiatives taken by him since he was appointed as Home Minister, Singh said he would not be sharing operational details but added “my foremost task is to improve the morale of the forces. I have given clear instructions that we would not let our forces down, come what may.”

Asked how he felt when he was bypassed in the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) on matters related to crucial appointments in the government, Singh replied “I am amazed at people?s tendency to make a mountain out of a molehill. This is a procedural issue which does not merit undue attention. I am doing what I need to do.”