A group of Union ministers will visit Jammu and Kashmir later this week to spread awareness about the alleged positive impact of the Centre’s decision to revoke the special constitutional status of the erstwhile state, PTI reported on Wednesday.
This is the first visit by Union ministers since the government abrogated the region’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5 and divided it into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
The ministers have been requested to educate people about the development measures and schemes taken by the government for the region.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah wanted all members of the Union Council of Ministers to pay a visit to Jammu and Kashmir, with the “objective of disseminating information about the importance of the government policies with regard to the overall development of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and its people along with the steps taken by the government of India in this direction particularly in the last 5 months”, a letter sent by Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy said, according to The Indian Express.
The Union ministers are scheduled to visit different districts of both the Union Territories from January 18 to January 24. Reddy will travel to Ganderbal town on January 22 and Manigam on January 23. Union minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad will visit Sopore in Baramulla district on January 24, while Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani will travel to Katra and Panthal areas of the Reasi district on January 19. Union minister and former Army chief VK Singh will visit Tikri in Udhampur on January 20 and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju will visit Suchetgarh in Jammu the next day.
According to the letter, the ministers have also been sent “background material” about the developmental activities “through email”.
Anurag Thakur, Giriraj Singh, Prahlad Joshi, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, Renuka Singh, Jitendra Singh and Piyush Goyal were among the other ministers who will visit different districts during the period.
The government had last week invited envoys of 16 countries to visit Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, to understand the situation there. In October, around two dozen members of parliament from the European Union were taken to Kashmir on a highly orchestrated tour. Before that the MPs met National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and even Prime Minister Narendra Modi.