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India Committed to Retrieving Pakistan-occupied J&K: Union Minister Jitendra Singh

File photo of Union Minister Jitendra Singh.

File photo of Union Minister Jitendra Singh.

Union Minister Jitendra Singh said this was the only outstanding issue with Pakistan and there is no such issue as Kashmir as it is as much a part of India as any other state or Union Territory.

Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Thursday said India stands committed to retrieving Pakistan-occupied Jammu & Kashmir (PoJK) and it was the only outstanding issue between the two countries. "There is no such issue as Kashmir issue and Jammu & Kashmir is as similar and as much a part of India as any other state or Union Territory," he said. Referring to a resolution of Parliament passed in 1994 wherein it was unanimously accepted by all parties that Pakistan has to vacate the areas of the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir, the minister said these areas continue to remain under illegal occupationof the neighbouring country even after so many years.

India stands committed to retrieving Pakistan occupied Jammu & Kashmir and that is the only issue outstanding between India and Pakistan, he said. Singh, the Minister of State for Personnel, addressed a series of public meetings during the District Development Council (DDC) election campaign along the International Border (IB) in Khour, Pargwal and other areas in Jammu district.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made it possible to take decisions like abrogation of Article 370 and holding of DDC elections which were earlier considered impossible. "Similarly, this task of retrieving PoJK will also be accomplished by the Modi government," the minister said.

Singh claimed the people of PoJK have been for a long time deprived of the benefits of democracy, and it is the government's commitment to them that it will make them a beneficiary of India's democratic system with grassroots empowerment. It is during the Modi government, said Singh, that two years back 4 per cent reservation was provided to the residents of IB on the same lines as to those living along the Line of Control (LoC).

He accused the earlier governments of playing vote bank politics and giving reservation to LoC areas "because they were getting their MLAs and ministers elected from those areas" but denied the same benefit to the children living in the adjacent part of the border because they did not constitute their vote bank. The Modi government has corrected this inhuman injustice to the youth of this area, the minister added. Singh also claimed that work of construction of bunkers and roads bridges which had been pending for the last seven decades in the border areas has been taken up only in the last 5-6 years.