Jammu: Kashmir and Jammu are the “two eyes” of the Union Territory of J&K, and going ahead, for overall progress, both have to work together without one being favoured over the other, said Manoj Sinha, Lieutenant Governor of J&K.
“Samaan bhav sey dono ke vikas ke liye humein kaam karna hai aur dono milke hi is UT ko aage badha sakti hai (We have to work towards the development of these two regions equally, and it’s only when both work together that they can take the UT forward),” said Sinha in an interview to The Indian Express. “I think if the administration’s intentions are clear, and the government is not favouring one over the other, then there will be no opposition.”
The L-G spoke on a range of issues from the annulment of the Roshni Act and its unraveling to the fear of demographic change in the Valley following the repeal of land laws, the timeline for Assembly elections and restoration of 4G services, and the ‘Gupkar Gang’ jibe by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Sinha, who took oath on August 7, and has visited all 10 districts in Kashmir, and six (of 10) in Jammu, over the last four months, said there were “some people” who have “vested interests” in differentiating Jammu from Kashmir on the lines of “region, religion, caste, colour or area.”
L-G Sinha sought to allay fears expressed by mainstream political leaders that Assembly elections would be put on the back burner, particularly after the ongoing District Development Council (DDC) polls. He said Assembly elections are held in states which have DDCs. “Assembly function is different from that of DDC or Parliament. So, where is the contradiction?” he said.
There was no reason to fear, Sinha said. The Prime Minister has talked about Assembly elections from the ramparts of Red Fort on August 15; the Home Minister has said it on the floor of Parliament, he pointed out.
“Is mein kisi ko aapatti nahi hai (Nobody has an objection to this). And the Prime Minister has said on August 15, that when the Delimitation Commission completes its work, Assembly elections will be held,” he said.
Responding to a question on fears of a demographic change in the Valley, especially after the repeal of certain land laws and amendments in some others, the Lt Governor said in J&K, 90 per cent of land is agricultural. “Nobody from outside J&K can buy agricultural land. Even within J&K, only agriculturists can buy such land,” he said.
While the amendment to certain laws has enabled outsiders to buy land in the UT, Sinha said there was no treatment for “imagined” fears.
“Give me a single example of any outsider having bought land here. Since August 5, 2019, tell me a single name. I challenge anyone to name one person from outside who has bought land here. This is baseless,” he said.
Asked about Shah’s tweet referring to mainstream political parties — which formed an alliance ahead of the DDC elections — as ‘Gupkar Gang,’ Sinha said: “As a leader of a party, he has every right to issue a political statement. If leaders in a political party can give certain statements, then others also have the freedom to speak their mind…Constitutional post hum hold kar rahein hain, humko is se matlab nahi (I hold a Constitutional post, and I am not concerned about it) (KNS)