J&K will get statehood 'when time is apt', Modi govt did more for UT than generations of dynasts, says Amit Shah in LS

Jammu and Kashmir has been a top priority for the current government since it took power in 2014, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said in Lok Sabha

FP Staff February 13, 2021 17:12:11 IST
J&K will get statehood 'when time is apt', Modi govt did more for UT than generations of dynasts, says Amit Shah in LS

Amit Shah in Lok Sabha on Saturday. PTI

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday defended the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and said that the Union Territory will get its statehood at an appropriate time.

"Nowhere in the Bill has it been said that Jammu and Kashmir will never get its statehood. Jammu and Kashmir will get statehood at an appropriate time," Shah said, replying to a discussion on the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill.

Slamming some Opposition members for their claim that the proposed law negates the hopes of the region getting back its erstwhile statehood, Shah said the region's Union Territory status is temporary. He then took a swipe at the Congress and other regional parties, saying Article 370 was a temporary provision but they continued with it for over 70 years before the Modi government annulled it in August 2019.

Shah also told the Lok Sabha that the Modi government has done more for Jammu and Kashmir since Article 370 was scrapped in August 2019 than those who ruled it for generations, as he reeled out statistics to assert that its development has been the government's top priority.

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"The Opposition knows very well that the administration was handling the situation in Jammu and Kashmir when the COVID-19 pandemic started. Everything came to a standstill for a year. Yet you are asking for an account. I will give an account, but first, you (the Congress), were given a chance to rule for several generations, look at yourself and ask yourself if you have a right to ask."

"Jammu and Kashmir has been a top priority for the current government since it took power in 2014," he said.

"Decentralisation and devolution of power have taken place in the Union Territory following the revocation of Article 370," Shah said, noting that panchayat elections saw over 51 percent voting.

"Panchayats have been given administrative and financial powers for local development, something they lacked earlier," he added.

"Now people chosen by the masses will rule Jammu and Kashmir, not those born to 'kings and queens'," he said, attacking dynastic parties in the region.

"Even our rivals could not allege any wrongdoing in these polls, which were conducted fairly and peacefully," the Union home minister said.

"Work on two AIIMS in the region has begun, and the Kashmir Valley will be connected to the railways by 2022," he added.

Shah also gave the assurance to the people of Jammu and Kashmir that "no one will lose their land".

"The government has sufficient land for development works," Shah said.

Responding to Opposition remarks that Article 370 is under judicial review, Shah said that the court has not yet found any fault in the abrogation of Article 370.

"If the court had found the abrogation of Article 370 illegal, it had all the right to prevent its implementation. The court has not said that the order can't be implemented. It has kept it under consideration. But should we stop the entire development work in Jammu and Kashmir?"

Shah also accused the Opposition of misleading the people with its remarks. "The Opposition questioned why aren't we approaching the Supreme Court to expedite hearing in the case. They know very well that the hearing in a matter of this importance would have hundreds of lawyers, which is not possible in the virtual mode of hearing currently in place. I am sure the court will hear the matter as per its priority once physical hearings begin. But should we not do any work till then?"

The bill seeks to replace the ordinance to merge the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) cadre of civil services officer with the Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre. Shah said the government expects that around 25,000 government jobs will be created in Jammu and Kashmir by 2022.

Shah also slammed the criticism for merging the Jammu And Kashmir cadre of IAS, IPS, and IFS officers with Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram, and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre, saying they don't understand the cadre.

"When there is a special geographic situation, officers have to be sent. They are sent for the development of the state," he said.

Shah also accused AIMIM chief Asaddudin Owaisi of communalising the officers of the country. "Are you saying that a Hindu officer can't serve Muslim citizens?" Shah said.

With inputs from PTI

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