Ramesh, who visited the valley on Friday and Saturday and became the first central minister outside the state to have set his foot in the state after Afzal Guru's hanging in February, said the state had come a long way from its troubled past and the time was apt to nurture good politics and growth.He said the state required a proper political engagement and not just strategy based on the feedback of the soy and security agencies. The minister added that it was the political vaccum which was allowing the growth of militancy and secessionist voices in the state.
Ramesh asked whether India's mindset towards a transformed Kashmir. He said the Kashmir sensitivity was not being given enough respect and rather the Kashmiris were facing humiliation in other cities. He urged India to show respect to their culture.
The Union minister pitched two ambitious projects for the state during his visit to the state. The projects are 'Umeed', which encourages rural women to become entrepreneurs and 'Himayat', which will help the youth to acquire skills and be a part of the nation's growth story. Ramesh also visited Guru's hometown of Spore.
Ramesh said the Centre must make itself visible in Kashmir through its development activities. He said successive governments had adopted policies to maintain a status quo in the troubled state and warned against what he termed 'BJP mark politics' that could alienate the Kashmiris further.
He said the BJP's hyper-nationalism would hurt the Kashmiris' sentiments more. He cautioned that a thumping 'I-am-India' kind of patriotism would not work in this part.
Ramesh, who has visited the Valley for the seventh time after taking over as the rural development minister in July 2011, said the successful local elections and the booming tourism made the situation conducive for major development initiative.