Srinagar, Jul 17 (PTI) Dialogue with separatists cannot be held at gunpoint, and they should help to create a conducive atmosphere by dissociating themselves from the ongoing violence in the Valley, Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh said today.

Singh said the PDP-BJP Agenda of Alliance (AoA) spoke of facilitating talks as “dialogue is the only way.

“But talks cannot be held at gunpoint. Talks cannot happen by exerting pressure, by killing innocents, attacking pilgrims or police officers of J&K.”

“People who want to talk should come forward and say that they are ready and should dissociate themselves from this,” Singh told reporters here.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had written a letter to separatists when Home Minister Rajnath Singh came here last year, but they did not come forward.

“A Parliamentary delegation came here but they shut the doors. They have to come out of this situation to talk.

Dialogue needs an atmosphere, which is not there. These people do not want dialogue,” the BJP leader said.

Asked about the draping of slain militants in ISIS flags, Singh said it was a cause of concern.

“This is a cause of concern and those who say this is a political issue, those who talk about the disintegration of India, should understand this.

“They should understand, and I think they understand, that this is radicalisation in which there is no room for any other thinking.

“The way (Hizbul Mujahideen commander Zakir) Moosa threatened to hang Hurriyat leaders, people should understand that their aim is the murder of humanity and attack on Sufism and inclusive thinking, which believes in peace,” he said.

The deputy chief minister said Kashmiris were peace-loving and that is the reason that everybody condemned the attack on Amarnath pilgrims.

“Nobody can deny the reality. Those who are trying to mislead the people cannot deny that.

“What happened with Dy SP (Ayub) Pandith (who was lynched), Lt. Umer Fayaz (who was killed at a relative’s place in south Kashmir) and SHO (Feroze Dar, who was killed, along with five other cops, by militants) – they all were Kashmiri Muslims and the sons of soil. Their murder was a part of the same thinking which is trying to take us in other way.

“But, I believe that the people of Kashmir will not accept this and will oppose it openly,” he said.

Asked about Mehbooba’s statement on China, Singh said Beijing is playing politics by meddling in Kashmir and the country has no business to mediate on the issue.

“Everybody knows what China is doing in J-K. 5,152 square kms of land is with China which has been illegally transferred by Pakistan to China under lease. Then China is occupying our Aksai Chin illegally, forcibly.

“Now, China is coming forward with the ill-conceived proposals to mediate which it has no business doing,” he said.

Singh said the India of 2017 “is not the India of 1962, so they must understand and see reason,” Singh told reporters here.

Asked about the presidential election, he exuded confidence that NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind will win comfortably.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.