Union Minister of State in the PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh has said that politicians detained in Jammu and Kashmir after the scrapping of special status will be released in less than 18 months.
Pointing out that the media keeps asking about the release of political leaders detained in the state, Singh said that he always says “less than 18 months”, an apparent reference to the Emergency, when leaders of all Opposition parties were jailed. Singh was speaking at an event in Katra on Sunday.
When contacted over the phone on Tuesday, Singh confirmed this, saying that he was asked when the leaders would be released and “I said less than 18 months”.
Singh’s statement is the first one by a senior functionary in the Union government about the maximum time for which mainstream political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir may remain under detention.
About the restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said it will not take 72 years, in an apparent reference to the continuation of Article 370 for seven decades. As the situation normalises, statehood will be restored to Jammu and Kashmir, he added.
Taking a dig at Kashmir-centric politicians, he said they kept the people in the dark on Articles 370 and 35A to ensure continuance of their dynastic rule. The struggle launched by Jan Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee for one flag, one Constitution and one Prime Minister finally came true with the abrogation of special status, he said, adding that there is no place for anti-national and separatist activities in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s regime.
Regarding apprehensions in certain quarters about outsiders getting jobs in the state, Singh said that every state and Union territory has certain rules with respect to recruitment of people, and asked how many people from Kathua have got jobs in neighbouring Punjab which has no special status. Now, with the abrogation of special status, a new era of development will begin in the state and people of all sections of society will benefit, he added.