New Delhi: Restoring democracy and eliminating terrorism from Jammu and Kashmir are the top priorities of the government, Home Minister Amit Shah said in the Lok Sabha on Friday.
Moving a statutory resolution to extend President's Rule in Jammu and Kashmir for another six months, he said, since the state Assembly has been dissolved and the Election Commission has decided to hold fresh elections in the state later this year, it is essential that President's Rule be extended for another six months with effect from 3 July, 2019.
"I want to state this clearly that restoring democracy is the top priority of the BJP-led government" and the government is serious about this, he said. He added, "We are committed to eliminating terrorism from its root in the state."
Given the current situation of the state, it is fundamental to extend the President's Rule, Shah said.
In the past decade, elections have never been conducted during the current season because of the month of Ramzan (7 May- 4 June). Amarnath Yatra is upcoming, 30 June to 15 August and the Bakarwal community also moves to higher reaches during this time to return only in October.
The Election Commission has decided to conduct elections at the end of the year, so now it is mandatory to extend the President's Rule, he said. This is not the first time when the governor's or President's Rule was imposed on the state, he added. Earlier Governor's Rule was imposed seven times and the President's Rule two times.
The bill was introduced by Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy on behalf of Home Minister Shah.
Some members from the Opposition wanted to oppose the introduction of the bill but Speaker Om Birla rejected their demand, saying they had not followed the procedure for doing so.
The House decided to take up the resolution on the extension of President's Rule as well as the reservation bill together.
Initially, it was opposed by the Congress, but the home minister said it will save time if the House took up the two together.
RSP's N K Premachandran strongly opposed the resolution, but supported the content of the reservation bill. Describing the Jammu and Kashmir's Governor decision to dissolve the state Assembly as 'arbitrary', he said the right to form an alternative government was not given.
Premchandaran pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is advocating for simultaneous state Assembly and Lok Sabha polls in the country, but won’t allow Assembly polls to be held along with general elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
'Zero tolerance towards terror'
The minister said that in the last one year, the government has followed zero tolerance towards terrorism and all steps have been taken to hit the root of terrorism.
Further, he said panchayat elections were not happening in the state, but it was conducted during this period.
The government has also directly transferred Rs 700 crore in bank accounts for "panch and sarpanch" and more would be transferred for development.
There was always bloodshed in elections in the state and this time elections took place for 40,000 posts and there were no death reports, Shah said.
"Voting percentage has increased and law and order situation is under control," he said, adding for the first time people of Jammu and Ladakh are realising they are a part of the state.
He said the government has resolved most of the issues of the state such as matters related to immigrants of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and West Pakistan.
Now the government is also providing compensation to people if their cattle dies, he said adding the government is valuing lives of every single person living on the border.
He also said the government will construct 15,000 bunkers within a fixed time period.
The home minister urged members to rise above party lines and pass the resolution.
This is the first proposal Shah has moved in the Lok Sabha after being appointed as the home minister in the second tenure of the Modi government.
Tangled history with president’s rule
Talking about the background for imposing Governor's Rule and President's Rule, Shah said as no political party came forward to prove majority in the legislature last June after the BJP rolled back its support from the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Governor's Rule was imposed in June 2018 and the state Assembly was kept in suspended animation.
Governor Satya Pal Malik on 21 November, 2018, dissolve the 87-member Assembly after the PDP supported by the Congress and their arch rival National Conference staked claim to form the government. The governor had dissolved the Assembly citing horse trading and lack of stability to form the government.
On 20 December, 2018, President's Rule was imposed.
What is the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019?
The home minister introduced the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019, to replace an ordinance issued by the previous government, Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 on 24 June in the Lok Sabha.
The bill, once passed by Parliament, will amend previous government's Act, to bring persons residing in areas adjoining the International Border (IB) within the ambit of reservation, on par with those living in areas adjoining the Actual Line of Control (ALoC).
They can now avail the benefits of reservation in direct recruitment, promotion, and admission in different professional courses. People living in areas adjoining the IB in Jammu and Kashmir were not included in the ambit of the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 and Rules, 2005.
The rules provided for reservation in direct recruitment, promotions and admission in different professional courses to various categories, including residents of areas adjoining ALoC. Thus, those living in areas adjoining the IB in Jammu and Kashmir were not getting these benefits for a long time.
Due to continuous cross-border tensions, persons living along the IB suffer from socio-economic and educational backwardness, as per government data. Shelling from across the border often compels residents to move to safer places, which adversely impacts their education as schools and colleges remain closed for long periods.
Shah said that as per law, 43 percent reservation is available in the state and under this three percent is for people living along the LoC. The bill provides to extend reservation under this three percent to people living along the IB in the state.
He said that due to ceasefire violations by the neighbouring country, people particularly students living along the LoC and IB face problems. "This reservation is not to please anybody," he said adding due to bombardments people are forced to stay in shelters and students stay away from schools. "This will help 3.5 lakh people living in Kathua, Samba and Jammu," Shah concluded.
Updated Date: Jun 28, 2019 16:32:45 IST