Shah says assembly polls in J & K whenever EC is ready

Shah says assembly polls in J & K whenever EC is ready

Agency News

New Delhi, Jun 28: The Lok Sabha on Friday approved a statutory resolution extending President's Rule in Jammu and Kashmir for a period of six months. The House also passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

The resolution and the Bill were passed after an intense and long debate lasting for about three hours and nearly an hour-long spirited reply by Union Home Minister Amit Shah who appealed to the members to rise above party affiliations and political leanings to pass the two key measures.

In his first major speech in the newly constituted 17th Lok Sabha, Mr Shah reiterated the Modi government's commitment to follow the path of ``Insaniyat, Jamhooriyat and Kashmiriyat' as enunciated by former Prime Minister ATal Bihari Vajpayee.

He assured the House that free and fair assembly polls would be held in J & K whenever Election Commission of India wanted to conduct the exercise in the State. Tear into Congress charges, Mr. Shah said that till today Article 356 of the Constitution has been invoked 132 times and out of which 93 times it was used during the Congress rule for political considerations.

Stressing that the BJP-led government was continuing its policy of ``Zero Tolerance' towards terrorism, Mr Shah who returned after a two-day security review meeting in Jammu and Kashmir said that other parties also did not support terrorism but their ways and means in implementing policies were different than those of the BJP government.

“We have carried out strikes at the very root of terrorism which everyone knows is fuelled by Pakistan. Surgical strike and air strike were two examples of hitting hard at the very origin of terrorism and these have yielded desired results,' Mr Shah said amid applause and thumpling of desks by treasury benches. He said the BJP government had reviewed security provided to individuals in J and K, mostly those who aired anti-India views. ``We took away security cover of 919 such persons and also banned Pakistani channels which were beaming anti-India propaganda by twisting facts,' he informed the House.

Replying to concerns raised by members on holding of assembly elections in the border State, Mr Shah said the government would not delay even for a moment the recommendation of the Election Commission of India whenever it was ready to conduct elections in Jammu and Kashmir. ``We will not hesitate and delay even for a second assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir. These were not held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls as more candidates would have been in electoral arena and ensuring their security was a difficult task. Lok Sabha elections in the State were held in a peaceful manner,' he told the House.

While moving the resolution earlier, he said since the state assembly has been dissolved and the Election Commission has decided to hold fresh elections in Jammu and Kashmir later this year, it is essential that the President's Rule be extended for another six months with effect from July 3, 2019. He said during the Governor's Rule and later President's Rule, the government hit at the roots of terrorism. The state has seen violence in previous elections, but things have changed, he said.

Hitting out at Congress, he blamed it for the partition which he called a historic blunder of Himalayan proportions as well as giving away PoK by agreeing to ceasefire when Pakistani invaders had trooped in to Kashmir Valley. He said the seed of alienation of Kashmiri people was sown when elections in 1957, 1962 and 1967 were held in a facrical manner. ``Such jokes in the name of elections made Kashmiri people lose their confidence in Indian government and it sowed seeds of doubt in them,' he said.

Stating that the BJP vehemently opposed ``tukde, tukde gang', Mr. Shah said those who want to break the country, should feel frightened. ``The fear should not be in the minds of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. We consider the people of Jammu and Kashmir as our own. But the doubts that have already been sown long ago, are creating problems. We are trying to bring Kashmiri people into national mainstream,' he said.

``Our government is concerned about the voice and aspirations of people in Kashmir. Till today, the Panchayats have not been given the right to choose Panch and Sarpanch. Only three families have ruled Kashmir for so many years. Why should they run the Gram Panchayat, the Nagar Panchayat and even the government? The welfare of the people of Jammu and Kashmir is our top priority. Our government feels that they should be given more since they have suffered a lot. Our government has taken a lot of steps to implement development projects in the State,' he said.

He recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given a Rs. 80,000 crore special package in 2015 to Jammu and Kashmir for development projects like roads, bridges and power stations. He said that schools were reopened, mid-day meals were introduced, thousands of J and K students were taken on tour to different parts of India to show that they were inalienable part of India. He said two AIIMS, IIMs and IITs have already been sanctioned for the State.

The Home Minister said that on June 23,1953, when Shyama Prasad Mukherjee went to Jammu and Kashmir protesting against the permit system and two Prime Ministers in the country, he was arrested and later died under mysterious circumstances.

“Shouldn't a probe be launched into it as Mr Mukherjee was an opposition leader then, a leader of the country and of Bengal and a former Union Industries Minister. If today, West Bengal is a part of India, it is because of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee's contribution,' he said.

Mr Shah said that national security continues to remain on the top priority of the government as the BJP always stood for a strong nation where all citizens feel secure. He said that for the first time all demands of the Central Armed Para-Military Forces (CAPFs), deployed in J and K, were met at a total cost of Rs. 2300 crores. He said that a Terror Monitoring Group (TMG) has been created to ensure smooth coordination among all agencies active in the Valley -- Army, Intelligence, CRPF, BSF and State Police. (UNI)