Even as the Lok Sabha Friday gave its nod to extend President’s Rule in Jammu and Kashmir for another six months beginning July 3, Union Home Minister Amit Shah asserted that assembly elections in the state will be held in a democratic, free and fair manner as soon as the Election Commission announces the dates.
Accepting that the people of Jammu & Kashmir do not trust the Central government, Shah hit out at the Congress and the then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru saying one-third of Jammu and Kashmir is not with India.
“One-third of J&K is not with us, who is responsible for it? The development of the people of J&K is our top priority, they have faced a lot and deserve development more than others,” Shah said, even as he drew a sharp reaction from Congress members. The House witnessed disruptions over Shah naming Nehru. Follow Parliament LIVE UPDATES Here
Shah also targeted the Congress for “failing to conduct fair elections” in the state and claimed that under Morarji Desai and Atal Vajpayee’s tenure, proper elections were held. “There were proper elections under our government be it Morarji Desai’s or Atal Bihar Vajpayee’s,” said the first-time Lok Sabha MP.
Talking about the concept of Kashmiriyat, Shah said the policy of “Insaniyat, jamhuriyat and kashmiriyat is still working in the state. We will not let Kashmiriyat be diluted.”
Shah said that Article 356 (President’s Rule) has been imposed 132 times out of which Congress has authorised it 93 times. “We have never used Article 356 for political purposes to dismiss state governments but Congress has,” Shah said.
It is to be noted that the state of J&K is under President’s Rule since the dissolution of the state assembly.
The Home Minister suggested an extension by another six months in the state following which the election will be held by the end of the year.
The first time Union minister questioned the decision of dividing the country on the basis of religion. “Who divided the country on the basis of religion. Who planted the seed of distrust in the minds of the people in J&K? It was the Congress,” Shah said.
“For the first time, the people are feeling that Jammu and Ladakh are also part of the state. The issues which have been pending for years have been settled by the Prime Minister and Home Minister of the country in the last year,” Shah added.
Targetting the Hurriyat and separatist leaders, Shah, who had recently visited the state, said, “Security of 919 people in J&K was withdrawn after a review by the government as they had no security threat.” The Centre had recently hinted at possible dialogues with the separatist leaders in J&K.
On Pakistan and terrorism
In his debut speech in the Parliament, the home minister also raked up the surgical strike and the Balakot airstrike, saying the two operations were conducted by India in an act of self-defence. “Narendra Modi government has zero tolerance policy towards terrorism. We will target the root of terrorism inside Pakistan,” Shah said.
Talking about security and the armed forces in the state, Shah said, “Govt has spent Rs 2307 crore to upgrade security apparatus. Our ideology is to ensure the protection of borders and make the country free of terrorism.”
Argument for extending Prez Rule in J-K ‘unacceptable’: Omar Abdullah
Former J&K Ch8ief Minister Omar Abdullah reacting to the approval of an extension of President’s rule in the state said that the arguments given by Shah are unacceptable. “So the Home Minister’s argument is that because the Congress has used Article 356 more times than anyone else the Modi government is justified in denying the people of J&K an elected government. That’s an unacceptable argument,” Abdullah tweeted.
Earlier this month, the Election Commission said it will announce the schedule of the assembly polls in the state after the Amarnath Yatra concludes. The pilgrimage, which will begin on July 1, will conclude on August 15.
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