Agartala– Union Home Minister Amit Shah has said that the restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir will come up after assembly polls, and that a call on the timing of elections will be taken by the Election Commission.
In an interview with ANI, Shah also said there has been improvement in the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, and terrorism-related figures were at their lowest.
Shah said Article 370 pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir, which was abrogated by the BJP-led government in 2019, had harmed the country.
He said the way development is taking place in Jammu and Kashmir, terrorism is gradually ending.
“See all the figures, there is a lot of change in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
The minister said he cannot comment on the timing of the polls in Jammu and Kashmir.
“I had clearly stated that statehood will be restored in Jammu and Kashmir after elections. The process of preparation of voters’ list is nearing completion in the UT. Now, the Election Commission has to take a call on elections,” he said.
Asked about his earlier statement mentioning the emergence of new leadership in Jammu and Kashmir, Shah said that new leadership will emerge from local bodies where polls had been held earlier.
“The panchs and sarpanchs who have been elected, new leadership will emerge from them… Since the time terrorism started in Jammu & Kashmir, the terrorism-related figures are at its lowest today. Crores of tourists and yatris are visiting Jammu and Kashmir now. This is a huge change,” he said.
Amit Shah said removing Article 370 has been on the agenda of BJP and Jan Sangh. He also referred to India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in the context of Article 370.
“Since 1950, it was on our agenda to remove Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir. Today, the way Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing development and decrease in terrorism shows the changes that are coming,” he said.
Shah said those slamming the BJP should answer in whose tenure terrorism grew in Jammu and Kashmir.
“As far as elections are concerned, do they not remember the local body polls, these were held under our rule, these did not take place for 70 years. Three families were holding sway in Jammu and Kashmir, and they are making noise…Farooq Abdullah had gone to England. In whose tenure, terrorism grew, who allowed it to grow, there should be an answer,” he said.
‘Big Drop In Terror Cases Post Art-370’
Earlier, the Union Home Minister said in Karnal that there is a big drop in terror incidents in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 and a record number of tourists are visiting the Union Territory.
Presenting the President’s Colour to the Haryana Police in recognition of its exceptional service, Shah also said the BJP government at the Centre has successfully tackled internal security challenges — terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir, insurgency in the North East and Left Wing Extremism — in the last eight years.
“Today I can say with satisfaction that after the abrogation of Article 370, there is a big reduction in terror incidents in Jammu and Kashmir. And record number of tourists visit Jammu and Kashmir. It is a matter of satisfaction,” he said.
The Union Home minister also said the Narendra Modi government will bring changes in the Criminal Procedure Code, the Indian Penal Code and the Evidence Act to make forensic investigation compulsory for crimes which attract punishment of six years or more.
“Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, the Home department is tackling several internal security challenges effectively. Jammu and Kashmir, the North East and Left Wing Extremism, the pain of which the country suffered for many decades,” Shah said in his address.
The Union minister said the Modi government achieved a big success in curbing terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.
The same way in the North East, more than 8,000 armed youths who were part of several insurgency groups surrendered and they were brought to the mainstream, he said.