‘Stone pelting a history, shopkeepers haven’t witnessed such golden days’
Schools, colleges to reopen in next 2 weeks beginning Mon
Relief for kin of jawans martyred outside raised to Rs 25 lakh
JAMMU, Feb 12: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha today declared that Jammu and Kashmir Government with support of the Centre is working to dismantle terror ecosystem and asserted that there is no place for opposition against India or tricolor in the Union Territory as he announced that educational institutions will be reopened within two weeks following decline in COVID cases.
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Without naming Pakistan, Sinha blamed the neighbouring country for sponsoring “narco-terrorism” in Jammu and Kashmir which has become a big challenge but added that security agencies are making all out efforts to counter the menace.
Addressing a press conference and two other functions here today, he said the terror has witnessed remarkable decline in Jammu and Kashmir and the Government is now making efforts to provide conducive atmosphere to the people.
Saying that the Government is trying to provide peaceful atmosphere to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to live like other parts of the country, Sinha maintained that the day when people here start living like their counterparts in Haryana and Bhubaneswar, the goal is achieved.
“The goal is big but we are moving forward in that direction. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah are monitoring and reviewing the Jammu and Kashmir situation on a monthly basis,” he added.
The Lieutenant Governor said during past two-and-a-half-months, many foreign militants have been eliminated.
“However, it is an ecosystem. The militants are killing innocent or hurling grenades at the behest of someone who is providing logistic support besides misleading and motivating them,” he said.
Asserting that operations against the militants are part of an ongoing process, he said attempts are being made to further bring down recruitment in the militancy and provide jobs to the youth.
“Our efforts are to destroy entire ecosystem of terrorism,” he added.
There is absolutely no place for opposition against India or the national flag and anyone who tried to raise an objections will be dealt with strictly as per the Constitution, he said.
He said the system was put in place where not a single penny from Jammu and Kashmir Government or Centre is going to a person linked with terrorism. “We are working on it and have a lot of success in this regard. If there is still some leakage, the work is to cover that and we will be successful in it.”
Comparing the prevailing situation with the past, the Lt Governor said “there is a magical change in Jammu and Kashmir. Stone pelting has become a history and the shopkeepers are not forced to close their shops by anyone under fear. The shopkeepers are telling me that they have not witnessed such golden days. The progress is good and we will achieve our goal.”
Sinha also announced enhancement of relief from Rs five lakhs to 25 lakhs to the jawans from Jammu and Kashmir who laid down their lives in the service of the nation outside their home place.
Referring to withdrawal of posts advertised before October 31, 2019, the Lieutenant Governor said all posts will be re-advertised within two months and one-time relaxation will be given to the candidates who had applied for them earlier. The recruitment will be fast-tracked, he added and mentioned that some of the posts were advertised far back in 2004.
Referring to his latest review of the COVID-19 situation on Friday, he said all the schools and colleges will reopen within the next two weeks.
“Time has come for the opening of schools and colleges …We are opening classes from 9 to 12 from Monday, and the rest of the classes from next week (February 21). All the schools and colleges will become functional (within two weeks),” he said.
Sinha said while the classes from 9-12 functioned for some time over the past two years of pandemic, the lower classes lost the entire two years due to closure of the schools and his administration would work with all the stakeholders to overcome the losses to ensure that the children have better future.
He said he had empowered the Deputy Commissioners, Education Department and Divisional Commissioners of both the regions to take a decision on this.
Paying rich tributes to seven Army personnel who recently lost their lives in an avalanche during patrolling in Arunachal Pradesh, he said some of the soldiers belonged to J&K and their mortal remains have reached for last rites to their hometowns.
“Jammu and Kashmir jawans who achieve martyrdom outside the Union Territory used to get Rs 4 or 5 lakh. We have now decided to enhance the relief to Rs 25 lakh,” he said, adding he had received representation from different quarters for enhancement of the relief as per other parts of the country.
“The file was in process and was supposed to take a few more days. I directed the Chief Secretary to begin providing Rs 25 lakh relief with two soldiers whose bodies reached here from Arunachal Pradesh,” he said.
Amid Karnataka ‘Hijab’ row controversy, Sinha said every citizen of the country should respect the religious sentiments of others and hold the Constitution supreme.
“I have to talk about two things – respect for religious sentiments and holding the Indian Constitution supreme. Every citizen of the country should keep these two things in mind,” Sinha said, responding to a question about Karnataka ‘Hijab’ row.
He said the issue is sub-judice and therefore “this thing is enough for me to say on the issue”.
However, he referred to an acid attack on a girl in Srinagar and said “we have made all arrangements for her treatment.”
”The girl is in Chennai (hospital) and one of our senior officials is also there. I am getting daily updates about her health,” Sinha said, adding strict action as per the law will be taken against the guilty persons.
The Lieutenant Governor dispelled any apprehensions about the Delimitation Commission report and said he is confident that there will be no mistake as the Election Commission of India is a Constitutional body which works in a transparent and scientific manner.
Asked about widespread protest over the draft report of the Delimitation Commission which was shared by it with Associate Members, the Lt Governor said the Election Commission is a Constitutional and respectable body and for me, it is not good to comment on any of its decisions.
“I worked with the Election Commission as an Associate Member in 2009. The process there is very transparent and scientific. The Delimitation Commission has submitted a draft to its Associate Members to seek their opinion. It will come into public domain and even an ordinary person can also raise an objection if he feels the need.
“As far as I am concerned, I am satisfied and confident and there will be no mistake on part of the Election Commission,” he said.
He said the Union Home Minister had already made it clear time and again that the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir would be held after the completion of the delimitation of constituencies. “It will be followed by Government formation and restoration of Statehood.”
On the ongoing protest by some families belonging to Scheduled Tribes who were displaced during an anti-encroachment drive by Jammu Development Authority in Roop Nagar area last month, the Lt Governor assured their rehabilitation on humanitarian grounds.
However, Sinha cautioned them that attempts are being made by vested interests to mislead and provoke the community.
“The drive (by JDA) was carried out in accordance with the law… My administration wants to help the poor people but if the land was already given to someone else, they will not be allowed to live there. We will address the concerns of the poor people who were occupying the land,” he said.
Sinha said the people who have bought the land should be given its possession but it is also true that if a poor man who is living somewhere for a long time, where should he go.
“The Government will take care of both sides. We will reach out a solution keeping both the things in mind and we are talking with them,” he said.
The Lt Governor rued that politics is being dragged into every issue in Jammu and Kashmir. “Those who have never worked for their upliftment over the past seven decades, they are issuing statements but I do not want to comment on them.”
He said his administration had taken a lot of welfare measures for the Scheduled Tribes over the one and a half years.
“What we had done for the Scheduled Tribes was not done for over 70 years,” the Lt Governor said, listing various measures which have been taken by his administration for the Scheduled Tribes including benefits under the Forest Rights Act.
He said the rule of law should be implemented fully. “There are some things which we got in inheritance and there is so much fixed deposit which we are trying to spend…I do not want to go into the past,” he said.
On frequent protests by unemployed youth, he said “protest is not a solution to any problem when the Government is ready to listen to anyone and everyone to address their grievances.”
Sinha referred to the new Sports Policy and expressed hope that the youth of Jammu and Kashmir will benefit from it.
“If you compare sports infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir, it is better than Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Out of 4290 Panchayats, 4000 Panchayats have playing fields, while we have good standard stadiums and even international stadiums,” he said.
He said Jammu and Kashmir has seen the highest tourist footfall in the whole country last year.
“We have set up new records for project implementation,” Sinha said, announcing completion of 45,000 projects in the current financial year compared to 9229 in 2018-19.
He also talked about the new Industrial Policy and said the Government is expecting an investment of Rs 70,000 crore by 2024.
“J&K is giving much more incentives than in any part of the country. We are giving 100 per cent more incentives for setting up an industry than Punjab,” Sinha said, adding Jammu and Kashmir is open to welcome investment in the industrial sector.
The Lt Governor said if the sports industry from outside wants to come to Jammu and Kashmir, his administration will welcome and take necessary measures for the same.
He said his administration will think over a “cultural policy” for the upliftment of artists. “Policy is not made in a day or two and when an appropriate time will come, we will announce such a policy.”
Targeting Pakistan without taking its name, Sinha said narco-terrorism originating from the “neighbouring country” is a big challenge and security agencies are making all-out efforts to counter the menace.
He said this while addressing a function after laying the foundation stone for the construction of a drug de-addiction centre at Channi bypass here
The centre, the first-of-its-kind in Jammu province, is coming up at a cost of Rs 5.57 crore – Rs 3.57 crore under Smart City project and Rs 2 crore under CSR from Airport Authority of India – and is likely to be completed by February next year.
Sinha asked his administration and people from all walks of life to make a pledge to counter the challenge of narco-terrorism jointly and save the future of the youth who are the real targets of the conspiracy behind pushing narcotics from across the border.
Without naming Pakistan, Sinha said the “neighbouring country” is pushing drugs into this side of the border as part of a well-planned conspiracy.
“The purpose is clear, which does not need rocket science to understand. After repeated defeats in conventional wars, they are involved in proxy war to destroy the youth in Jammu and Kashmir and the neighbouring States. Security forces are enjoying an upper hand (in the proxy war) as well but more needs to be done to foil their nefarious designs,” the Lt Governor said.
He said there is a need to give a befitting response to narco-terrorism originating from the neighbouring country.
“Narco-terrorism is a big challenge and our security agencies, including Jammu and Kashmir Police and Anti-Narcotic Task Force, are working to counter it. They are also making efforts to arrest terrorists and their supporters,” he said.
Sinha also urged people from all walks of life to come forward and strengthen the efforts of the security agencies and the administration to eliminate the menace.
He referred to the identification of 272 districts across the country with high rate of drug abuse and said 10 of them are in Jammu and Kashmir which is very painful.
“When we are listed among good performers, we get happy but it is a reality that drug abuse is increasing among the poor, middle class and rich sections. We need a three-pronged strategy — bringing the drug addicts back to mainstream, intensify efforts to stop smuggling of drugs from across the border and mass campaign and involvement of the people — to counter this menace,” the Lieutenant Governor said.
He said everybody has to share the responsibility and “let us take a pledge to support each other to wipe out this menace for a better future for our coming generations.”
Lauding the police for its efforts against both terrorism and drugs, he said the force is running drug de-addiction centres since 2013.
“Last year in June, there was a survey of the youth arrested for their involvement in criminal activities. As many as 70 per cent of them were found to be drug addicts,” Sinha said, adding the administration, including police, cannot fight this threat alone and need support of the society as a whole.
He said there is an army of volunteers available in Jammu and Kashmir and involvement of youngsters at every level, both in rural and urban areas, in the campaign against drugs will help get better results.
Earlier, Director General of Police Dilbag Singh said his force is running 10 drug de-addiction centres across Jammu and Kashmir, treating over 6,000 addicted youth.
“Narcotics is emerging as a major challenge bigger than terrorism. It is not only providing oxygen by way of money to terrorists, but it is making the future of our youth dark,” the police chief said.
Terrorists are targeting people individually whether civilians or security forces but the drugs are hitting families and pushing the society towards destruction, he added.
Dilbag lauded the Lt Governor for approval of the project and said, “Earlier, we were working in fragments as we are running 10 drug de-addiction centres. Only a major facility is available in Srinagar, while this is the first such facility coming up in Jammu region.”
The DGP said over the last few years, the use of narcotics has increased.
“We are seizing narcotics in a big way and also the money generated from drug trafficking to fuel terrorism,” he said.
Singh also requested people to come forward in the fight against drugs and said “more efforts are needed to eliminate this growing threat.”