Prez Rule extended for 6 months, quota for border residents OK’d in Rajya Sabha
The President’s Rule in Jammu & Kashmir has been extended by another six months after the Rajya Sabha passed the related Bill presented by Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday. The House also passed the Reservation (Amendment) Bill that proposes to give quota benefits in jobs and educational institutions to people living near the State’s International Border.
The State has been under Central rule since June 2018, when the BJP ended its alliance with Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party. Elections will be announced later this year, but before that President’s Rule, which is applicable for six-month periods, has to be renewed.
On use of Article 356 to impose President’s rule in the State, Shah said he agreed with the spirit to minimise the use of the constitutional provision and added that democracy in the State should not be restricted to three families.
He also attacked Congress of misusing the Article 356 by invoking the constitutional provision to dismiss State Governments led by rival parties in the past.
Shah said Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in the State could not happen simultaneously because security to all candidates could not be given. Shah said the Government will not delay elections in the State even for a day the moment Election Commission agrees to hold polls.
“Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of the country and no one can separate it from India. The Narendra Modi Government has a zero-tolerance policy towards terrorism. The Government is committed to Jammu & Kashmir’s development. We will move forward in the spirit of Kashmiriyat, Jamuriyat, insaniyat…” the Home Minister said in Rajya Sabha.
Asserting that whoever talked of destroying India will get a reply in the same language, Shah said “ Why did Kashmiri Pandits leave? Why were the Sufis killed for speaking on unity. A time will come when Kashmiri Pandits will be praying and Sufis will be seen alongside them in Kashmir,” said Shah.
The Home Minister stated that the Modi government is following a policy to protect the sanctity of Kashmiri tradition, humanity and peace. “We reopened schools, provided cooking gas, built toilets, provided electricity during President’s rule in J-K,” Shah said.
Attacking hardline elements in the state, Shah asked who threw out Kashmiri pandits, Sufi traditions from the Valley. “Were they not part of Kashmiri tradition?” the Home Minister asked.
On forming government in J-K with the PDP, he said “it was not our decision but a result of fractured mandate”
He added that the government does not want to mislead people on Jawaharlal Nehru but lessons have to be learnt from historical blunders. “All Kashmir problems are due to Nehru declaring ceasefire when one-third of Kashmir was with Pakistan,” he added.
Earlier, Leader of opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad asked the government to hold early assembly elections in J&K, while accusing it of running the state government from capital under the garb of President’s rule.
“Stop running the government from Delhi. Holding elections in the state would be the greatest confidence building measure,” he said. Azad also sought doubling reservation for people living in border areas to 6 per cent from the proposed 3 per cent.
The Congress also accused the BJP-led central government of “betraying” the people of Jammu and Kashmir by imposing President’s rule in the state and demanded early Assembly elections there. Initiating the debate on statutory resolution to extend President’s rule, Congress member Viplove Thakur questioned why assembly elections were not held in the state along with the Lok Sabha polls.
Rakesh Sinha (nominated) said the issue is of national importance and should not be seen through a political prism. Sinha refuted the charge of creating division between Jammu and Kashmir, and said the BJP-led central government believes in ‘one people, one nation’. He accused the Congress of doing politics of polarisation in the state.
Supporting both the bills, Prasanna Acharya (BJD) said, “We cannot go on discriminating… But my only concern is that whether the bill (on reservation) approved by Parliament would be ratified later by elected state government.” Ram Chandra Prasad Singh (JDU), Manoj Jha (RJD), Swapan Dasgupta (nominated) and Nazir Ahmed Laway (J&K PDP) also participated in the discussion.
Tuesday, 02 July 2019 | PNS | New Delhi
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