The Centre on July 10 filed a fresh affidavit in the Supreme Court claiming that Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing an “unprecedented era of peace, progress and prosperity” after the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019.
The affidavit has been filed a day before a Constitution Bench is scheduled to hear a series of petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370, which deprived Jammu and Kashmir of its special privileges and led to the bifurcation of the State in 2019.
“Life has returned to normalcy in the region after over three decades of turmoil,” the Home Ministry announced in the 20-page affidavit.
The Ministry said the “street violence”, which was engineered by terrorists and secessionist networks, had become a “thing of the past”.
Organised stone-pelting incidents, linked to the terrorism-separatist agenda, had come down from 1,767 in 2018 to zero in 2023, the Centre said.
Bandhs and hartals had also become a distant memory. “Resolute anti-terror actions” had dismantled the “terror eco-system” which led to a significant drop in terror recruitment from 199 in 2018 to 12 in 2023 till date, the Home Ministry said.
The government said it had “encouraged policies to mainstream youth” to “wean them away from militancy”.
Moreover, the Centre said work on transit accommodation for the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley was in an “advanced stage and is expected to be majorly completed in the next one year”.
The Ministry said certain sections of the society, such as west Pakistan refugees, displaced persons from Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, children of women who married outside the erstwhile State, safai karamcharis, etc, had now begun to enjoy all the rights available to citizens in other parts of the country. Reservation had been extended to persons residing in areas adjoining the Actual Line of Control, it noted. Seats had been reserved for Scheduled Tribes persons and the Pahari speaking people.
The affidavit said a duly-elected three-tier panchayati raj system could be established for the first time in the history of Jammu and Kashmir after 2019. Crucial Central laws, including right to free education for children and land acquisition compensation statutes, were now applicable in Jammu and Kashmir.
In fact the annual budget of Jammu and Kashmir had grown from ₹80,423 crore in 2019-20 to ₹1,18,500 crore in 2023-24.
Infrastructure developments included the completion of 32 out of a total 53 projects worth ₹58,477 crore under the Prime Minister’s Development Package.
The affidavit listed other significant changes in the fields of health, hygiene, hydro electric projects, higher education, etc.