Stop Creating More Widows, Orphans In Kashmir: Najma To Separatists

28 May 2015
Greater Kashmir
Abid Bashir

Srinagar: Terming separatist leaders as 'misguided' the Union Minister for Minority Affairs Najma Heptullah on Thursday asked them (separatists) to stop preaching violence and help the government to rebuild Jammu and Kashmir. In an exclusive interview to Greater Kashmir, Najma, who is camping in Kashmir for the past two weeks, said: 'This place is bestowed with beauty but there is no development.' Claiming that she wanted to take JK as a specific case and help out the people especially widows, half-widows and also the orphans, she said, 'These are the products of insurgency. My suggestion to the separatists is that they should stop creating more widows and orphans in Kashmir and instead help them find jobs.' She said her ministry covers entire India but she would put in her best to cover the widows and half-widows of Kashmir under a new scheme called Naye Roshni. 'This scheme is a skill development where in we would train widows and half-widows so that they could earn a sustained livelihood. 'I have observed across the country that giving money to poor and destitute doesn't help. Rather, there is a need of developing their skills and to do some capacity building so that their livelihood remains sustained and they don't remain dependent on others. She said that in Kashmir widows and half-widows are living a miserable life. 'This is a specific case with regard to J&K. And the number of three lakh orphans too is shocking. This all has happened over the past 25 years of strife,' she said. 'My ministry would definitely carve out a plan and ensure that those orphans who deserve scholarships are enrolled and those who have completed their studies are registered for various skill development courses across India.' Dubbing separatists as misguided, she said they should join hands of the both, Centre and State government to ensure development. 'There is no scope for separatism in Kashmir. I would put in my best efforts to ensure guns and bombs are replaced with pens and tools used for wood carving, weaving Pashmina, fine arts, etc,' said Najma. She said that hospitality sector has a great future in Kashmir. 'I would like to pick youth, including orphans and young widows, for training in this sector. They could train themselves in the Kashmiri cuisine which is popular worldwide,' the Union Minister said. 'They should be roped in for a productive engagement so that they could live a dignified life.' She also suggested the separatist leaders stop supporting Pakistan stating that two nation theory has failed. Quoting her late uncle Moulana Abul Kalaam Azad, she said: 'He (Azad) had predicted that two nation theory would fail and it took just 25 years to prove his prediction right. We saw creation of Bangladesh, a country emerging out of Pakistan,' she said. 'I believe that Kashmir has no future with Pakistan and they (separatist) must join the path of development without wasting more time.' About the ruling PDP-BJP government, she said the government would complete its full term. On the BJP's future in Kashmir, she said the party is gradually becoming popular in Kashmir.