Updated: February 13, 2021 10:13:02 pm
Union Home Minister Amit Shah Saturday said the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill has nothing to do with the statehood of J&K and that the latter will be restored at an “appropriate time”. The bill to merge the J&K cadre of all-India services officers with the Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre was later passed by the Lok Sabha by a voice vote.
Speaking in the lower house of the Parliament, today, Shah said, “Many MPs said that bringing Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 means J&K won’t get statehood. I am piloting the Bill, I brought it. I have clarified the intentions. Nowhere it’s written that J&K won’t get statehood. Where are you drawing conclusion from?”
“I have said in this House and I say it again that this Bill has got nothing to do with the statehood of Jammu & Kashmir. Statehood would be given to Jammu & Kashmir at an appropriate time,” he added.
Hitting out at the Congress, Shah said that while the current government is being asked what did it do about promises made during abrogation of Article 370, did the previous government give an account of what they did for 70 years. “It has been 17 months since the abrogation & you are demanding an account for it. Did you bring the account of what you did for 70 years? Had you worked properly, you need not have asked us,” he said.
Questioning their position to ask for accountability from the BJP government, the home minister said, “I have no objection, I will give an account for everything. But those who were given the opportunity to govern for generations should look within if they are even fit to demand an account.”
He requested not to politicise J-K and Ladakh. “If you want a political fight, come in the ring & let’s compete. Nobody is scared. It’s (J-K & Ladakh) a sensitive part of our country. They have been hurt and have doubts. This House’s responsibility is to comfort them, not scrape their wounds,” Shah said.
Jammu and Kashmir has been a top priority of the NDA government since it took power in 2014, he said.
Responding to Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Shah said opposition parties were free to visit the region. Chowdhury had claimed that foreign delegations were being taken there while no all-party delegation was sent.
The home minister assured the people of J&K that “no one will lose their land”. The government has sufficient land for development works, Shah stated.
#WATCH Jinhone Art 370 waapis laane ke aadhar par chunav lada tha wo saaf ho gaye saaf…Nobody, not even our rivals can say that there was fraud or unrest during DDC polls. Everyone voted fearlessly. 51% votes were cast in Panchayat elections in J&K: HM Shah in Lok Sabha, today pic.twitter.com/jtw5XrOZGU
— ANI (@ANI) February 13, 2021
Decentralisation and devolution of power have taken place in the UT following the revocation of the special status under Article 370, Shah said, adding that the panchayat elections saw over 51 per cent voter turnout. Panchayats have been given administrative and financial powers for local development, which they lacked earlier, he added.
“Now people chosen by the masses will rule Jammu and Kashmir, not those born to kings and queens,” he said in a jibe at the dynastic parties in the region. “Even our rivals could not allege any wrongdoing in these polls which were conducted fairly and peacefully,” he said.
On August 5, 2019, the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two Union Territories J&K and Ladakh and its special status under Article 370 of Indian Constitution was abrogated triggering criticism from leaders from Opposition parties and activists across the country.
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