Will give statehood at appropriate time: HM

Srinagar, Feb 13: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday reiterated that his government is determined to give full statehood to Jammu and Kashmir at an appropriate time.

He requested the political parties to understand the situation of the erstwhile state which was bifurcated into two Union Territories– J&k with a legislative and Ladakh without one.

“Jammu and Kashmir will be given statehood at an appropriate time…Please understand the situation of the Union Territory and avoid to give any speech that misguides the people of J&K,” Shah said while speaking in the Lok Sabha.

While delivering a speech to support the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which seeks to replace an ordinance to merge the Jammu and Kashmir cadre of civil services officers with the Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre, the Minister clarified that the Bill has nothing to do with the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir.

“We will give statehood. I have already said that it is a temporary system.”

Reacting to the opposition’s question about what happened in 17 months in J&K after withdrawal of Article 370, the Minister questioned “what about your 70 years rule, if your are asking about our work?.”

“They should first think about themselves before asking me this question,” he said.

Giving account of the Central government’s work in Jammu and Kashmir, the Minister said it had established Panchayati Raj in the Union Territory with 51.7 per cent voting without firing any single bullet. He later listed steps taken so far for the welfare of people in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Minister further said: “Jammu and Kashmir is in our hearts.”

On a question about the Supreme Court’s opinion on holding a hearing on repeal of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019 after which the region was bifurcated into two UTs, Shah said: “We are ready with our logic behind our step… but where is the Congress?”

“It doesn’t mean that we will not do anything for the welfare of Jammu and Kashmir untill the Supreme Court starts its hearing on the matter. What kind of argument is it?”

Regarding the restriction on 2G and 4G services in Jammu and Kashmir, the Minister said, “This is not the time of the UPA, this is the Modi government. The restriction on 2G and 4G was to avoid spread of rumours.”

Earlier, introducing the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021, Minister of State for Home Affairs G. Kishan Reddy said the government was working to take Jammu and Kashmir on the path to development.(KNS)

He said around 170 central laws are being implemented in Jammu and Kashmir after abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution that gave a special status to the erstwhile state. (KNS)