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Deployment of Extra Troops in J&K Part of Govt's Plan to Encourage Flag Hoisting in Panchayats

Security build-up and instructions issued by the government departments in the last one week have triggered speculations that the Centre may move to abrogate Article 35A of the Constitution, which defines permanent residency in Jammu and Kashmir.

News18.com

Updated:July 31, 2019, 9:18 AM IST
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Deployment of Extra Troops in J&K Part of Govt's Plan to Encourage Flag Hoisting in Panchayats
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New Delhi: Seeking to allay apprehensions on deployment of additional troops in the Kashmir Valley, the government claims the exercise is part of the routine process to replace the current lot of personnel who have served an extended term to oversee anti-terror operations and conduct Lok Sabha polls in the state.

The extra forces may, however, be used as a confidence-building measure ahead of the state assembly polls later this year as the government this Independence Day will encourage village panchayats in Kashmir to hoist the national flag.

“This is part of the ongoing process where forces who have been serving for long are being sent back. However, we may also want to provide enough ‘bandobast’ this Independence Day to village panchayats where flag hoisting is held,” a senior government minister said, briefing the media on the issue.

Security build-up and instructions issued by the government departments in the last one week have triggered speculations that the Centre may move to abrogate Article 35A of the Constitution, which defines permanent residency in Jammu and Kashmir.

BJP president and Home Minister Amit Shah, in a speech in Parliament this session, had categorically stated that Article 370 — which also provides special status to the state — is ‘temporary in nature’.

Beefing up of security apparatus ahead of the Independence Day is also part of government’s initiatives to empower local bodies and build on gains made by successful holding of panchayat elections.

The 14th Finance Commission has awarded funds to the tune of Rs 2,400 crore to the state. The government is working to funnel this money at the grassroots through local bodies apart from an additional allocation of Rs 900 crore for centrally sponsored schemes.

The government’s Kashmir policy is also indicative of a determined effort by the ruling BJP to improve its position in the state assembly to make a serious bid for power.

“The National Conference and People’s Democratic Party have lost credibility. Congress is in disarray. We may encounter a situation where smaller parties in the Valley may play an important role in government formation post poll,” said a BJP leader, alluding to the party’s growing ambition to lead a coalition government in the state post elections.

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