New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday sought extension of the President’s Rule in Jammu and Kashmir by six months, saying the situation in the state had improved and elections would be held towards the year-end after the Amarnath Yatra.
Shah also moved a bill that seeks to bring persons residing in the areas adjoining the International Border within the ambit of reservation, at par with residents near the Line of Control.
Jammu and Kashmir has been in political turmoil since the BJP and People's Democratic Party parted ways in June last year. Moving the resolution, Shah said that preparations are underway to hold Assembly elections in the state by the end of this year after the Amarnath Yatra.
The home minister, who was on a two-day visit to the state, also spoke about the security situation. "We are monitoring the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Construction of bunkers in border areas will be done within the time limit set by Rajnath Singh (his predecessor). Life of every individual is important to us," he said.
Shah said terror-related incidents saw a decline during President's Rule while stressing that the government will continue to maintain a zero-tolerance policy against the menace in the state.
Talking about the successful conduct of Panchayat elections, Shah said, "Panchayat elections were not conducted in Jammu and Kashmir for many years. But in the last one year, our government held elections in more than 4,000 panchayats. Now, over 40,000 panch and sarpanch are serving for the people."
He added, "Elections in the state have been bloody in the past, but there was no violence during Lok Sabha elections. Law and order situation has improved considerably.”
The Opposition, however, blamed the situation in the state on the BJP-PDP alliance. Congress leader Manish Tewari said, “Today situation is such that we have to extend President's Rule in Jammu & Kashmir every six months.. its roots are in the alliance of PDP and BJP in 2015.”
He added, “If you [government] have a tough policy against terrorism, we don't oppose it, but there is a need to keep in mind that the fight against terrorism can only be won if people are with you.”