NEW DELHI: Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh informed the Rajya Sabha that the present unrest in Kashmir valley was “sponsored by Pakistan”. He, however, ruled out a plebiscite, saying it was an “outdated” demand and the people of Kashmir were being misguided.

Replying to a debate on the Kashmir situation, he affirmed that while militancy will be dealt with sternly, there should be “no instant” use of bullets while dealing with mobs which should first be tackled by the use of teargas and water cannons.

The Minister said, “Whatever is happening in Kashmir is Pakistan-sponsored. The name is ‘Pakistan’, but its acts are na-pak [not pious]. Kashmiris are our own people. We will bring them on the right path. We will make them aware of the reality,” he said.

“It is for the government of India to look after minorities of India and we will do so, whether it is Muslims, Sikhs, Christians or anybody,” Mr. Singh asserted, asking Pakistan to stop meddling.

The Opposition parties, however, slammed the government and pressed for a political solution, instead of using “the barrel of gun” to solve the crisis. They said “the healing touch” was missing.

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said in the House on Monday that the unrest in Kashmir was unprecedented, something even the 1990s had not witnessed.

The Home Minister said he had, on Saturday last, expressed desire to visit Kashmir and have a dialogue with the people directly. Mehbooba, while welcoming the offer, told him that after the situation normalises a bit, she will come to Delhi and have a meeting with him to discuss in what format talks can be held, he said.

Invoking Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s famous statement of Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat and Insaniyat (Kashmiri ethos, democracy and humanity), he said, “If there is any place for Kashmiriyat in Jamhooriyat, it can be only on the basis of Insaniyat and not Haivaniyat (devilish acts). Those believing in Kashmiriyat and Insaniyat, cannot give space to haivaniyat.”

Mr Jaitley said a team of eye specialists has already been sent to Kashmir and the central government is ready to send even a special plane to airlift any number of people requiring specialised treatment for eyes as also other injuries.

With regard to prohibitions on newspapers and mobile internet in Kashmir, he said it should not happen and that he will discuss this issue too with the Chief Minister.

Slamming Pakistan for its "irresponsible" role, Home Minister Rajnath Singh questioned its claim to be the "protector of Islam", asking, "How can a country claim to be protector of Islam when it was born on the basis of religion, when it is witnessing bloodshed in the name of religion." He questioned how Pakistan could claim to be concerned about Muslims in India when it itself could not remain united despite being a Muslim nation.

Blasting those who celebrate the killing of security forces, Mr. Singh said, "it is reflective of Haivaniyat (devilish behaviour)."

In this context, he criticised those who have described the gunning down of militant Burhan Wani in an encounter as "extra-judicial killing", saying such a mindset is "perverted".

"This mindset has been seen whether in the case of Dantewada, Bastar or Kashmir. If security forces are killed, there are celebrations. Such is the perverted mind. We will address it," he said.