In an attempt to raise awareness about the benefits of abrogating Article 370, the Centre plans to send 36 Union Ministers to Jammu and Kashmir. On Saturday, Union Ministers Arjun Meghwal, Ashwini Choubey and Jitendra Singh landed in Srinagar. On Sunday, Smriti Irani will visit Katra and Panthal areas of Reasi district, while Piyush Goyal will be in Srinagar, PTI has reported.
The awareness campaign by the Centre comes five months after the government revoked Article 370 in the erstwhile state and Ladakh and bifurcated them into Union Territories.
As a part of the programme, the 36 Union Ministers are also scheduled to hold 60 meetings at various places in the Union Territory and speak to people on the theme of development, Principal Secretary to the Jammu and Kashmir government Rohit Kansal told reporters.
Singh, Meghwal and Choubey are scheduled to participate in three functions, one in Jammu and two in Samba in Kathua district, and meet BJP leaders in Jammu, Hindustan Times reported. On Sunday, 10 Union ministers are scheduled to arrive in Jammu. On 21 January, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi will lead another delegation of ministers to Kashmir.
Among the other ministers who are tasked with the outreach programme include Ravi Shankar Prasad, Kiren Rijiju, Hardeep Puri, G Kishen Reddy, Purshottam Singh Rupala, Mahendra Nath Pandey, General VK Singh, Gajender Singh Shekhawat and Anurag Thakur. There will be 51 visits to Jammu and eight to Srinagar, NDTV reported.
VK Singh is scheduled to visit Tikri in Udhampur on 20 January while Kiren Rijiju will go to Suchetgarh in Jammu on 21 January. Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy will be in Ganderbal on 22 January and Manigam on 23 January, while Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will visit Sopore in Baramulla district on 24 January.
Union minister of state Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti will be chairing a high level meeting of officials on 23 January and will be visiting to Faqir Gujri village which falls in Srinagar district, Hindustan Times reported. Union Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ will travel to Harwan area on the outskirts of Srinagar, while V Muraleedharan will visit Bilawar and Anurag Thakur will be at Nagrota.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday told the group of union ministers visiting Jammu and Kashmir to spread the message of development among the people, not only in the urban areas but also in the villages of the Valley, sources told PTI. They were also asked to spread the message about the various central schemes that will benefit the people at the grassroots level.
The Congress, which has accused the government of "double standards" by allowing foreign envoys to visit Jammu and Kashmir while blocking opposition leaders, dubbed the ministers' visit a "propaganda mission".
Amit Shah says all is normal in Kashmir
If so , why send 36 propagandists to Kashmir ?
Why not allow non-propagandists to go and understand the situation prevailing there ?
— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) January 16, 2020
The ministers’ visit also comes at heels of the lifting of a communication blockade in Jammu and Kashmir, where the administration ordered on Saturday that prepaid mobile service and 2G mobile data on postpaid connections to view whitelisted sites in Bandipora and Kupwara will be resumed.
Internet services, landline and mobile phones were snapped across Jammu and Kashmir on the eve of Centre's announcement to scrap special status of the erstwhile state and its bifurcation into Union Territories on 5 August. While most of the services except mobile internet were restored in Jammu within a week, Kashmir witnessed restoration of landlines and postpaid mobile services and internet facilities to essential services like hospitals in phases.
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Updated Date: Jan 19, 2020 15:22:40 IST