Srinagar: Union home minister Amit Shah said on Saturday that the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir would be restored only after the delimitation and holding of Assembly elections in the Union Territory.
“They (opposition) are asking for stopping the delimitation (process). That is because their politics suffers. Why should we stop delimitation? Nothing of the sort is going to happen in Kashmir now,” he said while speaking at a function here.
He added, “The youth of Kashmir get good opportunities…therefore delimitation will happen after which elections will take place and then the statehood will be restored. I have said it in the country’s Parliament. This is the roadmap”.
Mr Shah who is on a 3-day visit of J&K, his first since the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the state in August 2019, said, “I have come here to make friends with the youth of Kashmir.”
The Delimitation Commission for J&K set up by the Centre and headed by former Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai to redraw Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies of the UT has been asked to accelerate its work as its extended one-year term is ending in March 2022. Though various regional mainstream political parties and the Congress and national Left parties are not averse to participating in elections under the new composition of constituencies, they have demanded that the statehood of J&K must be restored before the democratic exercise takes place.
The home minister earlier reviewed the security situation prevailing in J&K in the backdrop of recent spate of target killings in and outside Srinagar and a major clash in which nine Army soldiers were killed by militants in frontier Poonch district in a meeting of top hierarchy J&K police, various Central armed police and paramilitary forces, the Army, intelligence agencies and the civil administration.
During the meeting, held at the Raj Bhavan here, the home minister was briefed on steps taken to eliminate militancy and terrorism from J&K and counter-infiltration measures in place along the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) with Pakistan, an official spokesman said, adding that J&K lieutenant governor, Manoj Sinha, and Union minister of state in the PMO, Jitendra Singh, also attended the crucial meeting.
Mr Shah claimed that terrorism in J&K has reduced and the stone pelting has become invisible. At the same time, he warned that stern action will be taken against those who try to disrupt peace and tranquility in the UT. He said, “I want to assure you that strict action will be taken against those who want to ruin the peace of J&K. No one can obstruct development here. It’s our commitment. We will continue to walk on this path”.
The home minister referring to the post-August 5, 2019 situation in J&K said that some people had made noises over the imposition of curfews and snapping the Internet. Justifying the curbs, he said that had there been no curfew many, lives would have been lost.
He said, “Three families ruled Kashmir for 70 years. Forty thousand people died (between 1990 and 2019). Why? We’re there (at the helm) only for two or two and half years. They (opposition) tried to see curfew is lifted by inciting (people), mounting pressure on and slandering (government). This was a conspiracy in which some foreign powers were also involved.”
He said that they had thought if the curfew is lifted, then terrorism will surge. There will be clashes between people and the police in which people will die and we will bake the loaves of politics.” He said had it happened, he does not know how many fathers would have to shoulder the coffins of their children. “So we saved lives… Kashmir youth has been saved due to curfew,” he asserted.
The official sources said that at the main agenda of the security review meeting was the recent civilian killings and “radicalisation” in the Valley, the prolonged encounter in Poonch and reported successful infiltration bids from across the LoC.
The home minister sought the details from the officers as to how the militants were able to carry out these killings despite deployment of security forces personnel in large numbers in Srinagar and other districts and given the fact that a record number of militants have been eliminated in counterinsurgency operations since 2019, the sources said.
He also sought details on "active terrorists, local militant- recruitment graphs and the radicalisation propaganda being used to lure youth into militancy. He asked for taking all possible measures to plug the infiltration from across the LoC and IB completely.
Soon after his arrival at the Srinagar airport earlier during the day, Mr Shah drove straight to meet the family of J&K police Inspector Parvaiz Ahmad Dar who was shot dead by militants on June 22 near his home in City’s Nowgam area while going to the locality mosque to offer magrib or evening prayers. He offered his condolences to the family and handed over documents of appointment to a government job on compassionate grounds to slain police officer’s wife Fatima Akhtar.
Later in a tweet, the home minister said, “Today visited the family of martyr Parvaiz Ahmad Dar and paid tributes to him. I and the nation are proud of his bravery. Jammu and Kashmir Police is making all efforts to realise the vision of PM Modi for a new JK.”
The home minister also flagged off the inaugural Srinagar-Sharjah international flight. He said that air connectivity between Srinagar and the Gulf “will help in boosting tourism and bring more investment in the UT.”
His other engagements in J&K include laying the foundation stones of two new Government Medical Colleges (GMCs) in Udhampur (Jammu region) and Handwara (Kashmir Valley) and inaugurating an IIT block in Jammu where he is also scheduled to address a public meeting on October 24 He is also meeting Panchayati Raj representatives and members of various other civic bodies in Srinagar and Jammu and holding separate meetings with officials to evaluate the work done on the development front particularly the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) for J&K.
The Home Minister is being accompanied by home secretary, A.K. Bhalla, and other senior officers of the ministry, the heads of various Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and Intelligence agencies, including the Intelligence Bureau....