Lucknow: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said the youths of Kashmir should pick up pens, books and computers instead of stones in their hands, while alleging that people with vested interests were playing with the future of Kashmiris.
"Some people in order to serve their selfish motives are forcing the innocent children and youths of Kashmir to pick up stones... Is this not playing with their future? I want to tell those having such nefarious intentions not to encourage the innocents to pick up stones.
"Which father will ask his children or youths to give up studies and pick up stones?" Singh asked, adding the youths of Kashmir should instead be having pens, books and computers in their hands.
At a function to unveil a statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji at Lucknow University, he insisted that the solution to all the problems of Kashmir and its people can be found only through mutual dialogue.
"These children are innocent and citizens of India...If there is a problem or difficulty, it cannot be solved through demonstrations, it can be resolved only through mutual dialogue," he said.
Stressing that peace and normalcy should be restored in Kashmir by holding talks with "our own people", Singh said that people of India love not just the land of Kashmir but also its people.
Making an appeal to the students in all the educational institutions of the country wherever Kashmiri youths are studying to consider them as their brothers and not to discriminate against them in any manner, Singh said they should be given proper respect and love.
Asking the Kashmiri brothers and sisters to give up violence and help in restoring normalcy, he said though they were politicians but they too get immensely hurt and disturbed whenever any youth is injured and dies just like when a jawan meets the same fate.
The home minister also reminded the people of Kashmir the service rendered by security personnel during the devastating floods by saving lives of hundreds of them by putting their own lives at risk.
India is one and will remain one no matter what the opponents tried, he said to the huge applause of the people.
Noting that the goal of politics is to take the society towards the noble path of prosperity and brotherhood, Singh rued that unfortunately today's politics appears adamant on dividing people on caste and communal lines for the sake of power.
"There are people who try to divide citizens in the name of politics but they have forgotten the true meaning of politics which is all about good governance. They should not misinterpret the term 'politics' which is meant only for good causes," Singh said.
Noting that Kashmiri students should be treated well without any discrimination, he said, "There cannot be a better platform than Lucknow University to say that Kashmiri students must be provided safety and security at institutions where they study. There should be no discrimination at all. They are our brothers and sisters."
Singh unveiled the 14-feet tall and 16-feet wide black statue of Shivaji at the Lawn Tennis field of the university campus in the presence of Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik and Vice-Chancellor S B Nimsey.
"Students go to universities not only for studies but also to be inspired. If any king has ever inspired students so much, it was Shivaji only," he said.
"There is a misconception that only Hindus were allowed in Shivaji's army. His troops also included a large number of Muslims as he believed in Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam," Singh said.
After the inauguration, the field was renamed after Chhatrapati Shivaji. The statue has been made by Mumbai-based artist Uttam Pacharney.