At a mega rally in Jammu and Kashmir, his first in the last three years after Article 370 was watered down, union home minister Amit Shah hinted at early assembly polls, spoke on stamping out militancy, no talks with Pakistan, besides hitting out at Kashmir’s former ruling dynasties, Abdullahs and Muftis, leading to a backlash from them.
Shah told a public rally in Baramulla that elections in Jammu and Kashmir would be held as soon as the revision of the voter list would be completed. “I want to tell you that you will soon elect your representatives and for that, the delimitation was very important. The previous regimes never conducted a fair delimitation because they wanted to stay in power," he said, drawing applause from supporters.
In an oblique reference to regional outfits like the Peoples Democratic Party and National Conference, Shah ridiculed those advocating talks with Pakistan. “Why should we talk to Pakistan? I will talk to the youth of Kashmir… through peace and development and by ushering a free and fair democracy," he said, adding terrorism would be uprooted from Kashmir and there is zero tolerance on that. He said terrorism has never done well to anyone and it needs to be defeated at all costs.
Shah launched a scathing attack on Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, saying their two families had never worked for the poor and in fact pocketed money meant for their welfare for themselves.
“The Abdullah and Sons and Mufti and Company are responsible for the killing of 42,000 people in J&K. They indulged in politics to curry benefits for their families and left the poor masses high and dry," he said.
The home minister said there were two models — the Modi model and Gupkar model. And while the Modi model focused on development, democracy and peace, the Gupkar model led to Pulwama (blast), terrorism, killing, and stones and guns in the hands of youth, he said. “Modi replaced the guns and stones with industry, mobiles and laptops," said Shah.
Baramulla was once a hotspot of terrorism and today it has turned into a hotspot of tourism, he said. “The Valley which used to get 6 lakh tourists a year has logged 22 lakh tourists for the first nine months. Four lakh tourists visited Gulmarg alone," the minister added.
Under PM Modi, he said, big infrastructure projects like roads and rail links, bridges, stadia, shelters and hospitals have been built and many are in the offing.
Both Mehbooba and Omar reacted to the home minister’s criticism. Mufti took to Twitter and said her father, who was chief minister of J&K for three and a half years, needs no validation from anyone.
Dedicating his speech to answer my questions, HM forgets that Mufti sahab was CM for just 3.5 years & doesn’t need validation from him for his work for welfare of J&K.Even after ruling J&K directly since 2018,BJP has nothing to show except their broken record of dynastic rule.— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) October 5, 2022
.@HMOIndia @AmitShah ji says “Gupkar model gave us Pulwama attack.” Just to remind everyone that Pulwama attack happened when J&K was under central (BJP) rule with their handpicked Satyapal Malik running the state from Raj Bhavan. https://t.co/xtmfNe1GrM— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) October 5, 2022
Mehbooba and Omar Abdullah also had a Twitter exchange with the police on the killing of a youth in alleged accidental fire by a policeman who stands arrested.
An overcautious & paranoid security apparatus in J&K has snuffed out an innocent life in Pulwama today. The need to prove normalcy overrides the sanctity of lives here. For how long will people of J&K bear a human cost to further GOIs ‘all is well’ agenda. https://t.co/dXoP9Yav4T— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) October 5, 2022
The killing of an unarmed civilian in an “accidental fire” incident in Pulwama district is highly condemnable. There must be a swift, credible & transparent probe in to this death. Those responsible must be punished to the fullest extent possible.— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) October 5, 2022
Mehbooba also crossed virtual swords with Srinagar police over her claim that she wasn’t allowed to attend the wedding of a supporter in Pattan area of Baramulla.
While HM is going around Kashmir beating drums of normalcy,I am under house arrest for simply wanting to visit Pattan for a worker’s wedding.If an ex CM’s fundamental rights can be suspended so easily, one cant even imagine the plight of a commoner.@AmitShah @manojsinha_ pic.twitter.com/5dYSfk8j1f— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) October 5, 2022
It is clarified that no restriction of any kind travel to pattan, travel to pattan was at 1 pm as intimated to us. The picture tweeted by her is of inside of the gate with own lock of residents who stay in the bunglow. There is no lock or any restrictions. She is free to travel. https://t.co/YMccUwDSh4 pic.twitter.com/kG5Luhj7Bm— Srinagar Police (@SrinagarPolice) October 5, 2022
The National Conference sought a day’s time to list its progress card of the years it ruled in J&K after Shah accused the party of doing precious little for the welfare of the masses.
A party spokesman tweeted to say, “We are grateful to @HMOIndia @AmitShah ji for challenging Dr. Farooq Sb to account for @jknc_’s contribution to the development of J&K. As the list is rather exhaustive, please expect our response tomorrow."
Shah had earlier said the two dynasties had very little on the development front for the last 70 years and Modi in fact was much ahead in comparison. He said the Modi government had brought in Rs 56,000-crore of investment to Kashmir for building industries while the regional parties had done literally nothing.