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Curfew, Internet curbs a ‘bitter pill’ to save Kashmiri lives: Amit Shah

Cavalcade of Union Home Minister Amit Shah passing through Srinagar as he arrived in Kashmir to review the security situation on ground and meet various stakeholders in Srinagar Saturday, October 23, 2021.   | Photo Credit: NISSAR AHMAD

Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Saturday that the curfew and Internet restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir, post August 5, 2019, was like a “bitter pill that saved many lives” and he had come to “make friends with the youth” who will be the agents of development and democracy, earlier held hostage to only three families.

Mr. Shah said the restrictions were necessary else many fathers would have had to carry their children to graves adding that “terrorism and development” could not go together.

Addressing the representatives of 4,500 youth clubs in J&K that work at panchayat level, Mr. Shah said that certain inimical forces, foreign powers and few families wanted to create pressure to lift curfew then so that people were forced to come out on the road, clash with security forces to serve their political interest.

Mobile phone connectivity and Internet services remained suspended for months post-August 2019, when the BJP government at the Centre moved two Bills in the Parliament to read down Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to J&K and bifurcated and downgraded the State into two Union Territories- J&K and Ladakh. Thousands were detained and hundreds arrested under the stringent Public Safety Act.

He reiterated that Statehood will be restored after elections were held once the delimitation exercise concluded and August 5, 2019 will be written in golden letters in history.

 

“In the past 70 years, why more than 40,000 people including security forces were killed in J&K? Do these three families have an answer? [Prime Minister Narendra Modi] Modi ji has always been concerned about J&K, it is his priority. In the long run, many lives were saved,” Mr. Shah said defending the stringent curbs imposed in J&K.

He said corruption was the biggest problem and though J&K received highest per capita grant from the Centre, poverty never reduced here. However according to government data, in 2019 when Centre revoked J&K’s special status, the former State stood eighth in terms of poverty rate 10.35 % while the national average was 21.92%.

“Kashmir has suffered a lot, we want to see a day when Kashmir is able to give back more to the Centre than it receives.”

Also read: Over 700 held in J&K ahead of Amit Shah’s visit

“Please tell me honestly, before August 5, 2019 could the youth of J&K dream of becoming the Finance or Home Minister of this country? In the past 70 years, J&K gave 87 MLAs, 6 Members of Parliament and three families. Modi ji ensured that democracy percolated down to 30,000 people through panchayat elections,” he said. Panchayat elections were however held in the former State of J&K in 2018, many seats are still vacant despite bypolls.

“I want to answer people who talk about Pakistan, but I am not here to talk about it. Just compare Paksistan Occupied Kashmir with the Kashmir here, you will find darkness and poverty there. Here you will find development. 25,000 jobs have been created in the past two years, I am going to hand over 7,000 appointment letters tomorrow,” he said.

Under the new industrial policy, J&K has received Rs 12,000 crore investment in the past six months compared to a total of Rs 15,000 crore in the past seven years.

 

Mr. Shah said there was a proposal to construct nine medical colleges and 15 nursing colleges. “Seven medical colleges are already in the process of running, earlier children used to go to Pakistan to study medicine, now they can study here….Now there is an IIM, NIT, NIFT, IIMC and a Cancer Institute in J&K,” he said.

He said 5 lakh jobs would be created through private investment. He added that compared to 36,000 tourists in 2020, only from January-March this year the number of tourists stood at 1.13 lakh

He said terrorism had ended and stone pelting has dissappeared and those who wanted to disrupt peace here would be dealt with an iron hand. 

Earlier in the day, Mr. Shah reviewed the security situation with the security brass in Srinagar. Lt. Gov Manoj Sinha was also present in the meeting.

This is Mr. Shah’s first visit to J&K after August 2019.


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Printable version | Dec 9, 2021 1:43:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/amit-shah-arrives-in-srinagar-for-3-day-visit-to-jammu-and-kashmir/article37136061.ece

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