March 24, 2023

Centre will restore J&K’s statehood when it returns to normal: Amit Shah | India News – Times of India

JAMMU: J&K will get back its statehood “once the situation there becomes normal”, Union home minister Amit Shah iterated on Saturday, seeking to silence “some people who want to create confusion in the minds of the people of the Valley”.
Speaking at the virtual launch of the Good Governance Index, Shah said the delimitation of constituencies was underway and elections would be declared on completion of the process. He said J&K was “a priority” for PM Narendra Modi and no effort was being spared to put it on the path to development.
“People have said many things, but I want to tell you that I had given an assurance in Parliament that the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir will be restored,” Shah said. “I request everyone not to fall into their trap.”
The home minister said democracy had already percolated down to the grassroots in J&K, “which is why some people are worried”. He was alluding to the panchayat polls and the first ever district development council (DDC) elections in December 2020, just over a year after the nullification of Article 370 took away J&K’s special status.
“Major changes began in 2019 under the leadership of Shri Modi in J&K. Earlier, only 87 MLAs, six MPs and three families used to share power; today more than 30,000 people’s representatives from the village-level upwards are serving the people,” Shah said.
“Those who were saying that violence will increase, they should be asked whether it has gone up or declined. If we undertake a comparative study of the period from April 2017 to 2019 and 2019 to 2021, then there has been a 40 per cent decline in terrorist-related incidents and a 57 per cent drop in casualties since Article 370 was abrogated.”
He also challenged those who said investment wouldn’t come to J&K. “The fact is that already Rs 12,000 crore in investment has come. Tourist arrivals have also gone up.”
Shah asked the youth of the Valley to take note of the changes that had taken place at the initiative of the local administration and PM Modi’s guidance. “I want to tell everyone, especially youths of the Valley, to focus on development and be a part of the process.”
The home minister said everyone knew that tourism in J&K was directly linked to employment, but those with vested interest had hatched a conspiracy to portray the Valley as being still unsafe for visitors.
“I want to tell those people who had to go to Pakistan or other foreign countries to study medicine that since Independence till 2014, J&K had just four medical colleges with 500 seats. Now, nine medical colleges have been built alongside 15 nursing colleges. They together offer 1,100 MBBS seats and 600 paramedical seats,” he said.
Union minister Dr Jitendra Singh and J&K lt governor Manoj Sinha were part of the virtual event.

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