Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Thursday strongly condemned the spate of brutal terrorist attacks on civilians in the Valley calling them “selective and targeted" even as he asserted that these deaths will be avenged by destroying the “ecosystem of terrorism". Assuring the people of the union territory, he said the central government, with the help of intelligence agencies and security forces, has developed a full-fledged strategy to tackle the situation and its actions will be seen soon.
In an exclusive interview with CNN-News18 on the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Sinha promised to “avenge the deaths of those killed". “I take the responsibility for these unfortunate killings. To ensure that such killings don’t happen again-we have developed a full-fledged strategy and our actions will be seen soon," he said.
“It is a fact that there have been selective and targeted killings in Jammu and Kashmir to create an atmosphere of fear. For the last two years, Jammu and Kashmir was witnessing a rise in tourism, prospering, and development, those who couldn’t stand all of this orchestrated all of this to disrupt peace. Those who were killed, their deaths will be avenged. This ecosystem of terrorism will get destroyed," he added.
Reiterating that he takes the “responsibility" for the recent killings in the Valley, he said, “It is a fact that there is no stone pelting happening in Kashmir now. Tourism has increased as people all over India feel safe coming here. Jammu and Kashmir is doing extremely well as far as law and order is concerned. As I said earlier, I take responsibility of these unfortunate killings. To ensure that such killings don’t happen again, it is the responsibility and top priority of the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir government to tackle with them."
Referring to the brutal killings of two teachers named Supinder Kour and Deepak Chand, a prominent Kashmiri Pandit and the owner of Srinagar’s famous pharmacy Makhan Lal Bindroo, and a ‘chaat’ vendor Virendra Paswan from Bihar by the terrorists recently, he said that people should condemn such attacks instead of “taking the wrong advantage" from the unfortunate incident.
“It is also the fact that some people are taking the wrong advantage of the situation. A woman who teaches children and raises an orphan, a pharmacist who keeps his shop open even during the night hours so that people will get medicine, a poor street vendor who comes from a faraway place to earn his livelihood-these heinous crimes should be discussed rather than calling it a security and administrative failure. Everyone in the country should condemn these attacks. This is my humble request to you and the people of this country to not fall in the trap of those who are purposely derailing these issues," he appealed.
Without getting into too many details due to national security reasons and cautioning those who are “sabotaging" the situation in the Valley with their statements, Sinha said, “We cannot discuss the security measures that we have to take on national television. I will say that with intelligence agencies, our security forces have developed a strong strategy. The security forces have full liberty from our end to act wherever they feel like doing so. Some people are passing statements that are sabotaging the security situation here. They must think before speaking. Security forces are ready to respond with a strong counterattack."
Assuring that soon the government will have full control over the situation in the Valley, Sinha said, “It is true that people from different sections of the society have been targeted, like, political party workers, our Muslim brethren, minorities. We need to understand the mindset of killers. Our aim is not a single life should be lost."
Talking about the developmental work being carried out by the government, he shared, “I would like to say two things: First, the Government of India had launched a package -‘6,000 jobs and 6,000 houses.’ In our first phase, we completed a goal of 3,000 and in today’s day 841 posts have been assigned and the results for 2,000 posts have been declared. In October, those 2,000 people will join. So just 160 posts have been left vacant, some have litigations and the remaining 81 posts have been advertised. So we will complete the work of the second phase too. More than 800 houses have been built and work is in progress on 3,000 houses."
The LG also said that the government has also launched a portal for those whose land was encroached in Jammu and Kashmir. In this, such people can register their complaints and the concerned District Magistrate will act within 15 days.
“It is fact that in the 90s, not only Kashmiri migrants but Muslims and Sikhs had to leave the valley. Such families have been registered in the office of the relief commissioner. I will call them ‘migrants’. Some are settled in Jammu, some in other parts of India, and some even in other parts of the world. We have launched a portal on September 7, because a law had been passed in 1997 but it was not implemented. Anyone whose land has been encroached can register a complaint on that portal and the concerned DM has to act within 15 days. Till now more than 6,000 complaints have been registered in that portal, out of which more than 2,500 complaints have been investigated. So these killings were also an attempt to stop such attempts by the government. But such attempts by the government won’t stop. Instead, we will destroy terrorism," Sinha explained during the interview.
Heaping praise for the work done under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Jammu and Kashmir, Sinha said that the government is working for the betterment of the people. “I don’t want to comment on what anyone says. I would also like to clarify that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we are working for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Gone are the days of self-development, now is the time for the development of people. Till 2014, there were three medical colleges in Jammu and Kashmir: one in Jammu and two in Srinagar. But under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, five new medical colleges have been launched, including two in Udhampur and Handwara, the work on these colleges will start this month. Next year, they will be functioning," he said.
“Two AIIMS have been granted to Jammu and Kashmir: one in Srinagar and one in Jammu. Two cancer institutes, one Bone Joint Centre, five nursing colleges, more than 1,400 wellness centers have been built in Jammu and Kashmir for the last 4-5 years. The health infrastructure here is better than in other states. It is all because of Prime Minister Modi," he added.
Talking about how well the local authorities in J&K managed to vaccinate people against the Covid-19 infection, “As far as Covid-19 management is concerned, initially we were generating 14,000 LPM oxygen and now it is 96,000. And lastly, except for three districts, all other districts are 100 per cent vaccinated. In near future, those two districts will also be fully vaccinated. We have given more 45 per cent of the second dose."
LG Sinha said that he discussed the road connectivity issue of Jammu and Kashmir villages with other parts of the country. “I have spoken to the Prime Minister also to connect 974 villages in Jammu and Kashmir with other parts via roads. I know we are lagging here. But this will also get completed. Last year, we maximized 5,000 kms of roads and this year’s target is 8,000 kms. The electricity generation has also increased. We will make Jammu and Kashmir self-dependent as far as electricity is concerned. If I talk about distribution, those schemes which were pending for the last 12-15 years, have been completed by us and the remaining get completed soon."
He said the supply of electricity will be increased in the Valley during this year’s snowfall. “When I came to Gulmarg last year for the winter festival, I said that the people of the valley have seen electricity and snowfall together for the first time. We will also increase the supply of electricity in the Valley during this year’s snowfall. All the social security schemes like Pradhan Mantri Avaas Yogna, scholarship to students, pension, etc have seen an increase of 36 per cent," he said.
Sharing the list of developments that are being made in Jammu and Kashmir, he said, “If I talk about the national highway of Jammu, Kashmir, and even Ladakh, around 1,000 km of new NH has been added here. New highways and tunnels have also been constructed. Now tourists can also go to Kashmir during winters. The bridge which is being built on Chenab valley is almost made. Now Kashmir will be connected with Kanyakumari. From Srinagar, we will start international flights for Sharjah. We have also allotted 700n canals of land for construction of new airport terminal in Jammu."
Sinha said the figures were proof of development in the UT since the abrogation of article 370 two years ago. He gave the example of saffron farming in Kashmir.
“We have achieved the target of doubling the income of farmers here. They earn three times now. Earlier, permission had to be taken from the revenue minister to apply for small things. We changed it. There was also a law that farmers who had less than four canals were not allowed to do plantation. We ended that as well. We have changed many regressive laws, which were against farmers," the L-G said.
Sinha further said the administration had introduced high-density plantations that had improved the economy of Jammu and Kashmir. “We gave compensation to farmers who suffered losses during floods," he added.
Talking about other social indicators, he said the child death ratio in the Valley had also improved by leaps and bounds. “In 2015-16, child death ratio was 23.1 per cent. We have reduced it to 9.5% in 2020," he added.
The Narendra Modi-led government allotted Rs 46,900 crore for roads, and that was reflecting in the density of national highways is now about 2200 km, Sinha said. “Back in 2014, it wasn’t as much even after including Ladakh. There used to be seven national highways, including Ladakh. Now there are 11, excluding Ladakh. The PM allotted Rs 46,900 crore in the road sector," Sinha added.