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Mulling AFSPA revocation, troop-cut in J&K: Home Minister Amit Shah

 Mulling AFSPA revocation, troop-cut in J&K: Home Minister Amit Shah



Says Assembly elections before September, statehood to be restored, Will talk with youth, highest number of fake encounters have taken place in NC, PDP rule, Kashmir’s identity and culture safe, fear psychosis created by political parties for political motives, Dal Lake to be transformed into the world's most beautiful lake, Tatoo ground into Disney Land, Gulmarg to be a Davos-like destination


Ali Asad


Srinagar, Mar 27 (KNO): In a major reach-out to Kashmiris, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has said that New Delhi is mulling to pull- back troops from Jammu & Kashmir and also considering revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the Union Territory.


Shah also said that that the highest number of fake encounters have taken place in NC and PDP rule in Kashmir. He also said that the Union Government is committed to hold Assembly elections in J&K before September 2024 and statehood would be restored after the electoral exercise.


Have plans to pull back troops, to consider revocation of AFSPA


In an interview with a local TV channel, Shah, as per news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), said that the Union Government will consider revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from Jammu and Kashmir and it is likely that Jammu and Kashmir police would helm the region's internal law and order. "We have plans to pull back troops and leave law and order to the Jammu and Kashmir Police alone. Earlier, the Jammu and Kashmir police was not trusted but today they are leading the operations. We will also think of revoking AFSPA," Shah told the news channel as per KNO.


The statement of HM indicates that the BJP-led Union Government could go for big confidence building measures (CBMs) on Kashmir if it is voted to power for the third consecutive term.


Statehood after assembly elections in JK


Reiterating the commitment of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to establish democracy in Jammu and Kashmir, Shah affirmed that assembly elections would take place in the region before September and later statehood would be returned. He underscored that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made this pledge in Parliament, a promise he himself supported. “If there is any person who can safeguard Kashmiriyat, it is Prime Minister Modi,” he said.


Shah emphasized that democracy would flourish once again in Jammu and Kashmir, but it would not be dominated by a few families. He asserted that this democracy would truly represent the people of Jammu and Kashmir. “The political landscape will no longer be dominated by dynasties. The new leadership will emerge and I want people to support this leadership and strengthen it,” Shah said.


No immediate political goals in Kashmir


The Union Home Minister also indicated that BJP has no immediate electoral goals in Kashmir. “Our intent is not about strengthening the BJP in Kashmir. We don’t have any such immediate electoral goal,” he said.


No talks with Hurriyat, highest number of fake encounters have taken place in NC, PDP rule


Union Home Minister Amit Shah clarified that discussions would be held with Kashmiri youth but not with organizations affiliated with Pakistan. “There will be no talks with Hurriyat and Pakistan agents,” Shah said,


Shah said that highest number of fake encounters have taken place in NC and PDP rule.


“Check the data yourself and you will find the highest number of fake encounters have taken place in their tenure,” he said, adding that they have ensured that FIRs are lodged against the persons responsible for one or two such incidents in the BJP rule.


He added that in order to curb terror related activities in Kashmir, the union government has banned 12 organizations, 36 individuals have been declared as terrorists, Rs 150 crore worth properties have been seized, 90 properties have been attached and 134 bank accounts have been frozen.


Shah also clarified that the BJP and the entire Parliament believe that the POK is an integral part of India. "The Muslim brothers are also Indians and the Hindu brothers living in POK are also Indians and the land which has been illegally occupied by Pakistan also belongs to India. It is the goal of every Indian, every Kashmiri to get it back," he said.


Kashmir’s Culture, Identity Safe and Secure


Regarding opposition's “misconceptions “about Article 370, the Home Minister highlighted that despite initial concerns about its abolition, the past five years have shown positive outcomes. He pointed out that Kashmir has experienced increased freedom, with the Kashmiri language and cuisine gaining prominence. Additionally,he said, the region has seen a surge in tourism. Shah debunked the misconception that the abolition of Article 370 would lead to the destruction of Kashmiri identity, noting instead the progress and development that have reached every household in Jammu and Kashmir. “There are more Muslims in Gujarat than in Jammu and Kashmir. There are more Muslims in UP than in Jammu and Kashmir. Everyone is living peacefully. Therefore, it must be understood that there is no harm in living in harmony. ”


The Home Minister noted that opposition parties including Congress, National Conference and PDP had consistently spread misconceptions regarding Article 370 in the valley.


Shah emphasized that many had previously claimed that abolition of Article 370 would lead to the destruction of Jammu and Kashmir's culture and language. However, it has been five years since its abolition, and no such outcomes have occurred, he said. “There was a fear psychosis created that the lands and jobs of people will go away. The culture will be devastated. Five years have passed and Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti must answer how much land has been taken away. All this was being done by the opposition parties so that they could safeguard themselves from getting punished for the plethora of graft charges they are involved in,” Home Minister Shah said.


Peace Thriving, Chaos Thing of Past


The Home Minister said that from 2564 incidents of stone pelting in the year 2010, the number has gone down to zero in 2023. “From 2004 to 2014, the number of terror related incidents were 7217 and in the last 10 years, they have decreased to about 70 percent and were recorded to be merely 2227. Also total deaths due to terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir from the year 2004 to 2014 was 2829 and from 2014 to 2023, the number has decreased to mere 915 which means 68 percent of reduction. And please know that those who have died in Jammu and Kashmir due to militancy, 85 percent of them were Muslims. Those who are propagating terror must be asked about their motives.”


Reservation to Paharis, OBCs


The Union Home Minister also talked about reservation given by BJP-led Union Government to Paharis and Other Backward Classes without affecting the share of Gujjars.


He said for the first time, the OBCs of Jammu and Kashmir have been given reservation by the Union government.


"OBC reservations have been ensured in the Panchayats and the urban local bodies. Without reducing the share of the Gujjar and Bakerwals, the Paharis have been given 10 percent reservation. Further, special provisions have been made to accommodate the displaced people from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir," he said.


Modi 3.0 regime to have special Kashmir focus


Shah said in Modi 3.0 regime, Dal Lake is going to be the most beautiful lake in the entire world and Srinagar’s Tatoo ground is going to be turned into DisneyLand where at least a tourist would spend 3-4 days to explore it to the fullest. “You will find Gulmarg like Davos and there will be tourist home stay facilities. The filmmakers will make a beeline to Kashmir. All this is going to happen in the next two to three years. You will see a complete transformation in the coming three years. The Prime Minister has a vision for Jammu and Kashmir and its Kesar (saffron), Pashmina and apples will be most sought after entities across the world,” Shah said.


PM Modi’s rally most successful rally


Shah noted that the recent rally of Prime Minister Modi in Srinagar was the most successful rally any Prime Minister has conducted in the history of Jammu &Kashmir. Furthermore, said Shah, 34 thousand people provided with government jobs and seven new mega hotels are opening in Kashmir which are going to give a boost to the tourism in the region. “We have provided licenses to 10 thousand tourist taxis, 90 thousand crores are being spent on infrastructure. The total GDP of Kashmir has risen from one lac crore to 2.23 lac crores. More than 250 crores have been earned by the tourism sector in Kashmir.”—(KNO)

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