Centre rules out dialogue with Separatists, dismisses reports of replacing Chief Minister

The central government on Thursday ruled out to hold any talks with separatist leaders in Jammu and Kashmir in near future, saying that its priority is to improve the situation in the Valley first.

“Our priority is to improve the situation first,” Minister for Defence and Finance Arun Jaitley told reporters here when asked if the Centre had any plans to hold talks with separatist groups like Hurriyat Conference in view of the demand repeatedly made by the BJP’s alliance partner, the PDP.

When asked whether there was a possibility of replacing Mehbooba Mufti as the state chief minister by a BJP nominee in view of the deteriorating security situation, Jaitley said, “I have not heard of any such thing. I am not aware of this thing.”

Jaitley, who in his capacity as Defence Minister reviewed the security situation in Kashmir yesterday, said it was not as bad as the impression was being given by some media outlets.

The situation in the valley is improving, he said.

“Well, I can only say this that I had a detailed meeting with Chief of Army Staff (Gen Bipin Rawat) and all the senior officers of the Army last night. The defence secretary designate was also with me.

“The Army’s principal job is to look after the Line of Control (LoC) and also some conflict management which is required. In both the areas, the Army is fully confident of dealing with the situation,” he said.

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