Invoking Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s “Jamhooriyat, Kashmiriyat, Insaniyat” approach for J&K, Union Home Minister Amit Shah Monday said that the Modi government was working for all-round development of the state.
Appealing to the Valley youth, he said they should “not be misled” by those asking them to hurl stones, and people of Kashmir should “not be scared” nor influenced by wrong propaganda.
“There is no need for fear in anyone’s mind,” Shah said in Rajya Sabha, adding that it is the “government’s responsibility to protect their life and property”.
Replying to a discussion before the House passed a resolution to extend President’s rule in J&K by six months and the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Shah ruled out plebiscite in J&K saying “it is out of question today”. He questioned why Jawaharlal Nehru had gone to the United Nations and promised plebiscite even after the princely state had signed the instrument of accession.
Thanking members for reiterating that Kashmir is an integral part (“abhinn hissa”) of India, he made it clear that “whoever will talk about breaking India, will get a response in the same manner”.
He rejected the Opposition charge that the BJP was delaying assembly elections in the state as it wanted to control the state’s administration through President’s rule. Taking a swipe at the Opposition, he said “we do not have a drought of governments”, and added that the BJP has 16 governments in the country.
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On Jamhooriyat (democracy) in Kashmir, Shah said it should “not be restricted to three families”. The government, he said, had conducted successful panchayat elections in the state. On Kashmiriyat, he said they hope to see the return of Kashmiri Pandits and Sufis to the Valley. And on Insaniyat, he mentioned the social welfare schemes that have benefitted people of the state along with other parts of the country.
He said separatist leaders who call for shutdown of schools in the Valley have sent their own children abroad to study. The government, he said, has a list of such people.
Underlining the government’s “zero tolerance” policy on terrorism, Shah said central agencies like the NIA have “choked the flow of funds” for terrorists. While previous governments too had tried to tackle terrorism, he said it was Modi’s “dridh rajnitik ichha shakti” (committed political will) which led to air strikes inside Pakistan. He said the BJP government had struck at the roots of terror “where it is born, educated”.
Unlike the past, the country’s foreign and defence policies, he said, have been segregated keeping national security at the core.
He said there was need for a fresh perspective on the issue of Kashmir. “We have continued with a single approach towards the Kashmir issue but if the problem persists even after 70 years, it becomes imperative for us to review and adopt a new approach.”
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“We want development in the Valley… but we will not tolerate any separatist movement and terrorism.” He said he is not a pessimist and assured the House that “we will win the hearts of Kashmiri people”.
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, welcomed Shah’s visit to the Valley, saying it was the first time that there was no “blackout” or hartal during a Union Home Minister’s trip. “Aap ke liye sabse badi uplabdhi hai,” he said, adding it was a “welcome step”. This was also mentioned by several Opposition members who participated in the discussion.
Later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that Shah’s speeches in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha “were comprehensive and insightful”.
He said “those who want a clear understanding of the Kashmir issue must hear his speeches”. He also highlighted that the Bills had been passed by both Houses unanimously “after rich debates, enriched by participation of MPs across party lines” and thanked all parties “for their support”.