HM assures free, fair elections when EC announces dates
Those who want to break India should’ve fear in hearts
JAMMU, June 28: In a quite significant statement, Union Home Minister Amit Shah today declared that Article 370 is a temporary provision of the Constitution of India and 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 as he directly blamed Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India, for mishandling Kashmir and giving one-third territory of the State to Pakistan by ordering ceasefire in 1947.
Political observers were of the view that this is for the first time that a Home Minister of the country has made such an important statement in the Parliament declaring Article 370 of the Constitution of India, as temporary provision.
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Shah, who happens to be the BJP president, had during election campaign of the BJP for Lok Sabha elections, announced that the party would scrap Articles 370 and 35A when it attained majority in the Rajya Sabha.
The Home Minister was replying to debate on statutory resolution moved by him in Lok Sabha for extension of President’s Rule in Jammu and Kashmir for another six months, beginning July 3. The resolution was later passed. The Lok Sabha also gave nod to a bill that proposed to bring the people living along International Border under the ambit of 3 percent reservation in Government jobs and educational institutions along with the people living on the Line of Control (LoC).
The statutory resolution as well as the reservation bill were likely to be taken up by the Rajya Sabha on Monday as the President’s rule had to be extended before July 3.
“Article 370 is not permanent and there is no change in our stand on it. It is there in the Constitution of India but remember it is a temporary and not permanent provision,” Shah said.
Shah declared that peace loving citizens of Kashmir have no fears but those part of ‘tukde tukde’ gang…those who want to break India should have fear in their hearts…they should feel scared and this fear will increase further in the coming times. Observers were of the view that this was a clear warning to separatists and anti-Indian elements in Kashmir, although Shah didn’t mention them.
“While the Government is committed to restore democracy in Jammu and Kashmir by holding the Assembly elections as and when the Election Commission takes a call, it is also committed to root out terrorism from the State for restoration of peace,” the Home Minister said.
Referring to the oft-repeated ‘Insaniyat, Jamhooriyat and Kashmiriyat’, a slogan coined by late Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee for solution to Kashmir problem, which has also been endorsed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shah said the ‘Insaniyat (humanity) is that BJP has given LPG connections, toilets to every houses and concrete houses to some of the people in Jammu and Kashmir. There is no fear among the people now.
“The Jamhooriyat (democracy) is that today we have 40,000 elected Panchayat members, which was not done in past several years. People couldn’t elect their Village representatives all these years. The Sarpanchs and Panchs are now doing their job. The Assembly elections will also be held in free, fair and transparent manner whenever the Election Commission announces the dates,” he said, adding the Kashmiriyat is that blood of people is not spilling on the roads now. The people are enjoying welfare schemes. “We won’t allow Kashmiriyat to dilute,” he added.
Shah took first Prime Minister of independent India and late Congress leader Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru to task for giving away one-third territory of Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan.
“Today one-third of Kashmir is not with us. Who announced ceasefire when Pakistan encroached in Kashmir after independence and occupied one-third of its territory? Jawaharlal Nehru announced ceasefire and Pakistan took away that part of Kashmir,” he said alleging that Nehru did not take the then Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Patel into confidence.
“If Nehru would have taken Patel into confidence before announcing ceasefire, then Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) would not have formed and terrorism would not have existed in Kashmir,” Shah said.
He said one-third of J&K territory is with Pakistan now.
“Sardar Patel was given the charge of Hyderabad and Junagarh and he successfully merged these States into India while Nehru himself handled Kashmir and the result was that we lost one-third territory of J&K to Pakistan,” Shah said.
The Congress members reacted sharply to this on which Shah said he would not take Nehru’s name but refer to him only as the first Prime Minister.
Shah said the policies of previous Congress Government widened the wedge between people of Jammu and Kashmir and rest of the country.
The Home Minister said there was a time when there was no sign of India in Kashmir, State Bank of Indian signboard was seen with a cloth covering `India’ word. Murli Manohar Joshi and Narendra Modi risked their lives and unfurled tricolor at Lal Chowk. We were not in power then, he recalled.
He lamented that in 1953 when Shyama Prasad Mukherjee entered Kashmir protesting against the two Prime Ministers in a country rule, he was thrown in jail. “His death was also not probed. Why? Was he not a senior Opposition leader? A leader from Bengal, a former Union Minister? It was because of Mukherjee that Bengal is part of India”.
He wanted to know why wasn’t Jamaat-e-Islami banned till date? Whom did you want to appease? It was BJP Government that banned Jamaat-e-Islami. Who put the ban on JKLF? It was BJP who did it, he said.
He recalled that in 1931, Muslim Conference was established by Sheikh Abdullah. For long, the Congress didn’t start its unit there and supported Muslim Conference. Congress put all its eggs in Abdullah’s bucket but Abdullah ran away with bucket, as a result, Sheikh Abdullah became the Prime Minister there, he said.
Shah asserted that the Modi Government has ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards terrorism and its ideology is to ensure protection of borders and make the country free of terrorism.
He said the government has spent Rs 2,307 crore to upgrade security apparatus in the State.
Continuing his attack on the Congress, the Home Minister said so far Article 356 (President’s Rule) was imposed 132 times all over the country, of which the Congress used it 93 times to dismiss State Governments.
The Home Minister also said the government withdrew security of 919 people in the State as there was no security threat for them. He added that people who speak against India in Jammu and Kashmir had been given security cover and “we removed that”.
In fact, he said, people who speak for India face the real threat.
“Restoring democracy and eliminating terrorism from Jammu and Kashmir are the top priorities of the Government,” Shah told the Lok Sabha.
Suggesting that only a strong “medicine” could stop terrorism, Shah said the government at the same time does not want to create an atmosphere of fear.
“We are taking steps to remove the fear which you (Congress) have put in the minds of people,” he said, while mentioning various developmental initiatives carried out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Government in the last five years.
He said since the State Assembly has been dissolved and the Election Commission has announced that it will hold fresh elections in the State later this year, it is essential that President’s Rule be extended for another six months with effect from July 3, 2019.
“I want to state this clearly that restoring democracy is the top priority of the BJP-led Government” and the government is serious about this, he said.
He added, “We are committed to eliminating terrorism from its root in the state”.
He said that given the current situation of the State, it is fundamental to extend the President’s rule.
Shah said in the past decade, never-ever elections have been conducted during the current season as there was the month of Ramzan (May 7-June 4). Amarnath Yatra is coming from July 1 to August 15 and Gujjar and Bakerwals also move to higher reaches during this time and returns only in October.
He also said that this is not the first time when Governor’s or President’s rule was imposed in the State.
Earlier Governor’s and President’s rule was imposed seven and two times respectively.
Further he said, Panchayat elections were not happening in the state, but they were conducted last year. The Government has also directly transfer of Rs 700 crore to the Panchayats and remaining Rs 3000 crore would also be given
“There was always bloodshed in elections in the state and this time elections took place for 40,000 posts of Panchayat members and there were no death reports, Shah said, adding the voting percentage has increased and law and order situation is under control.
He said the Government has resolved most of the issues of the State such as matters related to immigrants of PoK and West Pakistan. Now the Government is also providing compensation to people if their cattle dies, he said adding the government is valuing lives of every single person living on the border.
He also said the Government will construct 15,000 bunkers within a fixed time period.
The Home Minister urged members to rise above party lines and pass the resolution. This is the first proposal Shah has moved in the Lok Sabha after being appointed as the Home Minister in the second tenure of the Narendra Modi Government.
Talking about the background for imposing Governor’s and President Rule’s, he said as no political party came forward to prove majority in the Legislature last year in June after the BJP rolled back its support from the PDP. Governor’s rule was imposed on June 2018 and the State Assembly was kept in suspended animation.
The Home Minister also moved the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019, to replace an ordinance issued by the previous Government, which was approved by the Lok Sabha.
People living along the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir will get benefits of reservation in direct recruitment, promotion and admission in professional courses at par with those living along the Line of Control (LoC), according to the bill.
Shah said that as per law, 43 per cent reservation is available in the State and under this 3 per cent is for people living along the LoC. The bill provides to extend reservation under this 3 per cent to people living along the International Border (IB) in the State.
He said that due to ceasefire violations by the neighbouring country, people particularly students living along the LoC and IB face problems.
“This reservation is not to please anybody,” he said adding due to bombardments people are forced to stay in shelters and students stay away from schools.
“This will help 3.5 lakh people living in Kathua, Samba and Jammu,” he said.
Invoking Vajpayee’s philosophy of ‘Insaniyat, Jamhooriyat and Kashmiriyat’, Shah said during the Congress’ rule at the Centre, the rights of common man were snatched.
“The people could not even go for voting (in the State) as their democratic right. It is for the first time that rights were being given to common people and 3 families are taking a backseat,” he said while also referring to the arrest of Sheikh Abdullah by the then Congress Government.
Shah said this sowed “seed of distrust among people of Jammu and Kashmir that was planted by Congress”.
Shah also referred in detail the history of what he called “throttling democracy and toppling Governments” by the Congress. He mentioned how democracy was subverted in the State when a District Magistrate Abdul Khaliq used to reject nomination papers of Opposition candidates and make others as MLAs, who were known as “Khaliq made MLAs”. He also referred to arrest of Sheikh Abdullah and toppling of Farooq Abdullah Government overnight by sending a new Governor to Jammu and Kashmir.
Jammu, Ladakh now feel part of J&K
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said today that Jammu and Ladakh regions have now started feeling that they too are part of Jammu and Kashmir.
Referring to discrimination meted out to two regions, Jammu and Ladakh in the State by the successive Governments, Shah said the BJP Government stands for balanced development of all three regions of the State.
“Jammu and Ladakh regions now feel they too are part of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said, adding the present Government doesn’t want to discriminate with any region of the State and will do equal development of all three regions.