The Lok Sabha on Friday approved a statutory resolution to extend the President’s Rule in Jammu and Kashmir for another six months, with effect from July 3, ANI reported.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had moved the statutory resolution, saying it was not possible to hold elections in the state at present. The minister told the Lower House that Assembly elections would be held by the end of the year.
Shah claimed that the state administration had managed to combat the “roots of terrorism” during the Governor’s Rule, which was imposed after the Bharatiya Janata Party walked out of the alliance with the Peoples Democratic Party in June 2018, and subsequently President’s Rule.
“We are monitoring the situation in Jammu and Kashmir,” he added. “Construction of bunkers in border areas will be done within time limit set by the previous Home Minister Rajnath Singh ji. Life of every individual is important to us.”
The minister told the Lok Sabha that the state had seen bloodshed in previous elections but things had changed. He urged House members to rise above party lines to support the resolution.
The Lok Sabha also passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, which was moved by Shah. It proposes to provide reservation to people living in the areas along the border with Pakistan on par with residents of areas near the Actual Line of Control.
However, a number of Opposition leaders had protested against Shah’s decision to club the matter of quota bill with the resolution on extending President’s Rule in the state. Congress leader Manish Tewari opposed the resolution and said unlike the BJP, his party had normalised the situation in the state. “Alliance of ideologically incompatible parties [BJP and PDP] are responsible for the state of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir, where President’s Rule is being sought so frequently,” he told the Lok Sabha.
Tewari said Kashmiri people’s sense of alienation had increased. “The government will have to walk an extra two miles to bring them back into the country,” he said. The Congress leader added that he did not oppose the reservation bill but the resolution on President’s Rule.
When the House reconvened, Shah said the Narendra Modi government had adopted a zero tolerance policy towards terror. “I am sure we will be successful in achieving it with the help of our citizens,” ANI quoted him as saying.
Shah said President’s Rule had been imposed in Jammu and Kashmir 132 times till now, out of which the Congress imposed it 93 times, ANI reported. “Now these people will teach us democracy?” he asked in the Lok Sabha.
Shah said: “Why wasn’t Jamaat-e-Islami banned till date? Who did you want to please? It was the BJP government that banned Jamaat-e-Islami. Who put the ban on Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front? It was BJP who did it.”
Shah also responded to Congress leader Manish Tewari’s reference to the partition. “Who is responsible for the partition of the country?” Shah asked, according to Hindustan Times. “Whose fault is it that today one-third of Jammu and Kashmir is not with India? Who called for ceasefire back then? It was Jawaharlal Nehru who did it and gave that portion [Pakistan Occupied Kashmir] to Pakistan.”
Shah said: “You say we don’t take people into confidence, but Nehru ji did it without taking the then home minister into confidence. If Sardar Patel had handled the Kashmir accession, PoK [Pakistan Occupied Kashmir] would have been with us today. So Manish [Tewari] ji don’t teach us history.”
Shah said some people mentioned an “atmosphere of fear” in Jammu and Kashmir, ANI reported. “Those who are against India should have fear in their hearts,” he said. “We are not part of tukde tukde gang. We are not against common ppl of Jammu and Kashmir, we have started process of providing them jobs and all government schemes.”
The representative from Kollam in Kerala, K Premachandran, questioned the government for seeking an extension of President’s Rule. He asked the government to change its approach to win the confidence of people. “Kashmir issue has always been looked upon as a place that is dealing with terror and border issues,” News18 quoted him as saying. “We need a paradigm shift in our approach towards J&K...we need to win the people’s confidence.”
On Thursday, Amit Shah chaired a meeting of the unified headquarters of the security grid in Jammu and Kashmir. At the meeting, held in Srinagar, he reviewed the overall security situation in the state with special emphasis on restoration of peace and counter-insurgency operations. Shah asked security forces to show zero tolerance towards terrorism and praised the state police’s efforts to counter terrorism. The home minister also reviewed the preparations for the Amarnath Yatra, which begins on July 1.