Will Win Their Hearts, Says Amit Shah as Rajya Sabha Approves Extension of President's Rule in J&K
Echoing the sentiments of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Shah said his government would also work on the principle of 'Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat, Insaniyat'.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah speaks in the Rajya Sabha during the Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Monday. (PTI)
New Delhi: Responding to criticism that the BJP was trying to run Jammu and Kashmir through proxy by invoking Article 356 (pertaining to President’s Rule) of the Constitution, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday said his party did not need resort to such measures as it already has enough presence in other states.
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Shah said that President's rule was not being implemented in the state as a means for the BJP to rule it by proxy.
“(Prime Minister Narendra) Modi is already popular throughout the country to an extent that we have our governments in 16 states. We don't need backdoor provisions to rule another state,” he said.
Criticising the Congress, Shah said that Article 356 has been invoked 132 times since Independence – of this, the grand old party was responsible for invoking it 93 times. “We all know how the Congress offered the playbook of misusing provisions of Article 356 when it unlawfully invoked the article to dismiss the Communist government in Kerala,” he said.
To questions about why the government had not facilitated holding Assembly polls along with the Lok Sabha elections in the state, Shah said security forces themselves had informed the Election Commission that they would be unable to handle the security of so many candidates if simultaneous polls were held in the Valley.
“I consider it our collective failure that we could not create suitable conditions in Kashmir where we could provide security cover to thousands of candidates standing in Assembly elections and in Lok Sabha elections,” he said. “Our forces themselves said they were unable to provide security to so many candidates since elections were happening elsewhere in the country also. But whenever the Election Commission finds the time suitable to conduct elections, I can assure you not a single day will be wasted by us in facilitating assembly elections in the state.”
Last month, the EC had said that dates for Assembly elections in the state would be announced after the conclusion of Amarnath Yatra, which started on Monday. The pilgrimage will conclude on August 15.
Shah said the current government at the Centre has zero tolerance towards terrorism. “All parties know Kashmir is ours and Kashmir will remain ours,” he said, assuring the Parliament that Kashmir would remain an integral part of the country.
Shah blamed the Kashmir problem to the ceasefire by first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru when one-third of the state was still in Pakistani occupation and said "historical blunders" will always be debated.
“We do not want to mislead people on Nehru but lessons have to be learnt from historical blunders,” he said. “All Kashmir problems were due to Nehru declaring ceasefire when one-third of Kashmir was with Pakistan.”
Shah went on to ask why Nehru government went to the United Nations despite Kashmir's accession to India and agree to hold plebiscite "that is in any case out of question today".
Vowing to give a befitting reply to any attempt to break the country, Shah said separatist movement and terrorism will not be tolerated in Jammu and Kashmir and asserted that India wants peace, but not with those who do not respect its borders.
Shah advocated a new thinking to solve the Kashmir saying the approach of the past 70 years hasn't yielded any result.
"We want development in the (Kashmir) Valley. But we will not tolerate any separatist movement and terrorism. Terrorists who do not want to join with India have no place in the government's scheme of things. They will face severe action and difficulties," he said.
Two bills regarding the state – the resolution to extend President's rule for a period of six months and the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019 - were passed by the Rajya Sabha. This completed the parliamentary approval process in both the cases.
Shah also said that the government was interesting in reaching out to the people of Kashmir. "We will win their hearts and we will embrace them," he said.
The Modi government's policy is to protect Kashmiri traditions, he said adding his government reopened schools, provided cooking gas, built toilets and provided electricity during President's rule in the state.
Echoing the sentiments of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Shah said his government would also work on the principle of “Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat, Insaniyat”.
“But where were was ‘insaniyat’ (humanity) when Sufis and Pandits of Kashmir were being killed, their places of worship were being destroyed?” he asked. “Why did the same people, who are reminding us of these principles now, failed to raise their voice then?”
Shah said the Modi government struck at the heart of terrorist training when it carried out surgical and air strikes across the border after the Uri and Pulwama terror attacks.
Unlike in the past, foreign and defence policies have been segregated keeping national security at the core, he said.
"We want peace with the world but there cannot be peace with those who do not respect our borders," he said.
On reference made by opposition parties to the National Register for Citizenship (NRC), Shah said the government is clear that infiltration must be curbed and infiltrators must be identified and sent out. A citizenship bill will be brought to give Indian citizenship to Hindus coming from neighbouring nations, he said.
(With inputs from agencies)
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