Pick up books, not stones, Rajnath appeals to Kashmir youth

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday posted a video on his Twitter and Facebook pages urging the youth in the Kashmir Valley to give up protests and violence and pick up books.

The undated video contains Singh’s speech in Lucknow University, in which the minister also appeals to the students across the country to treat Kashmiri students as “brothers” and ensure their safety.

“Youth is the future of the country. But I am pained that children and youth have stones in their hands in Kashmir. They should not have stones in their hands, they must have pen, computer and books,” Singh said.

“But some people, with their vested interests, force those children to pick up stones. Are they not playing with their future? Will they tell their own children to quit education and pick up a stone,” Singh asked.

“I want to appeal to those who are doing such things, please don’t influence our children from Kashmir to pick up stones. They are Indian citizens. If they have any problem, protest will not help, only dialogue will help,” he said.

The Home Minister said “peace and normalcy” should be restored in Kashmir, adding: “We will talk to them, they are our own people.”

“We don’t love only the land of Kashmir, we love the people,” he said.

Singh also reminded that the security forces “risked their lives” to save Kashmiris during the floods.

“India will remain one, no one can change that,” he added.

His message comes as one more youth died in clashes with security forces in the valley, taking the toll to 68 since violence broke out a day after the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani on July 8.