There is a huge improvement in the ground situation in Kashmir Valley and people coming out to vote in the recent civic polls in a peaceful atmosphere is a positive sign, Governor Satya Pal Malik said in Srinagar Sunday.
“We are trying a lot to improve the situation at the ground level and as you can see, there is a huge improvement,” the Jammu and Kashmir governor told reporters after addressing a Police Commemoration Day function at Zewan on the outskirts of the city.
The governor said the local body polls were conducted in a peaceful manner and congratulated the police and civil administrations and the people of the state.
“The turnout has been such (low) many times before and I do not want to take such a controversial question this time and I only want to say that the polls were peaceful and for that police, administration and other forces as well as people (deserve credit).
“Without people, it was not possible. If they had come out on roads and indulged in violence, then it would not have been possible. I am thankful that this election was conducted without any loss of life or damage to property,” he said, when asked about the low turnout in the elections.
Asserting that the situation in the valley was extraordinary and polls in the past have seen high as well as low turnouts, the governor said there were, however, no reports of rigging in these polls.
“I want to congratulate you (police) and I also have been congratulated by Delhi for the peaceful conduct of the polls. The situation here is extraordinary. Sometimes there has been a good turnout and sometimes not, but I have received congratulations from everyone in Delhi and have been told to congratulate the forces as well as the people for the peaceful polls. There have been no reports of any complaints about rigging in these polls,” he said.
Malik said people coming out to vote was a positive sign.
“In the last phase, around 10,000 people came out to vote in Srinagar. There was stone pelting on them and in turn those who voted also pelted stones, so police had to save the stone pelters. Some developments are taking place slowly and people are understanding those, but this is not an occasion to talk about them,” he said, without elaborating.
He refused to say anything on the independent candidates winning the polls at most places.
The governor said the government would provide maximum monetary assistance to the new civic bodies and panchayats.
“Who becomes the mayor or not, is not our aim. We will give a maximum amount of money from the Centre or the state for the panchayats and municipalities and try to prove the point that these elections were for the people,” he said.
Earlier, the governor paid homage to 414 personnel, including 46 from the Jammu and Kashmir Police, who were killed in the line of duty.
Paying rich tributes to the slain personnel, the governor said the state would always remember their sacrifices.
He appreciated the synergy and coordination exhibited by the state police, the central security forces and the Army in dealing with the sensitive security scenario in Jammu and Kashmir.
The governor informed the gathering of the recent decisions taken by his administration to address various issues faced by the J-K Police like grant of sanction to the creation of 8,531 non-gazetted posts in the police department to address the stagnation at various levels in the non-gazetted cadre.
He said the ex-gratia relief to the families of slain policemen has been increased from Rs 48 lakh to Rs 70 lakh, and for SPOs, the same has been increased from Rs 14.50 lakh to Rs 30 lakh.
The governor added that he had requested Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to enhance it further from Rs 70 lakh to Rs 1 crore