New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing the last phase of militancy, Union minister Jitendra Singh said Saturday while commenting on the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley.
In a Facebook Live session on Jammu and Kashmir & Ladakh – Post Article 370, the minister said, “The security situation will soon change drastically. As far as militancy is concerned, I’m confident that this is the last phase of militancy in Kashmir. The incidents that are taking place are in desperation… The militants are running around carrying them out.”
He added, “When the atmosphere will become normal and so will the security situation, then everything will be very simple for the government to make arrangements, and for the Kashmiri Pandits to return.”
Calling the move to scrap Article 370 a historic decision by the Modi government, Singh said a few people created noise about some leaders being put in custody, but, he added, they were not even under “house arrest”, rather they were “house guests”.
Singh cited traffic snarls being witnessed on the streets of Kashmir as an indicator that normalcy has returned to the region. He pointed out that after the lockdown was lifted in the erstwhile state, things have once again become normal.
Singh is the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region, and MoS, Prime Minister’s Office.
On ‘historic decision’, and detentions
In his comments during the session organised by RSS affiliate Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal, Singh said, “Only a great leader like Prime Minister Narendra Modi could have taken such a big decision.”
He added that the benefits of the move would be visible to the next generation even as some are criticising it now.
“Some people started creating noise that a few leaders were put into custody. They were in fact guests and were not even under house arrest. I would rather say they were house guests,” he said.
“The way they were being treated and the kind of attention that was being given to them — if they asked for brown bread it was provided, if they wanted a gym that was made available. This is in sharp contrast to the Congress rule wherein the way Sheikh Abdullah was put in jail for 12 years,” he added.
The Modi government has faced criticism by the Opposition and activists over the detention of former chief ministers and NC leaders Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, both now released, and ex-CM and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti. She is still under detention.
Singh said the country is fortunate that this “good deed” has been carried out at a time when Modi is the PM. “A lot of people used to say this can never happen (scrapping of Article 370), and an earthquake will take place, others said no one will be left to raise the Tiranga (tricolour), but Modi government has been able to do it,” he added.
On peace in the region
Speaking about peace in the conflict-ridden region, Jitendra Singh said there hasn’t been a more “peaceful period” in the 30 years of the militancy in this region since August when the special status of the region was scrapped.
“During this period we celebrated several festivals, our Independence Day, Republic Day and it has all been so peaceful. We also had become so used to such incidents that we used to think Independence Day is around the corner so some untoward incident or the other will take place… but nothing has happened,” he said.
On domicile rules, and development
Last month, the Modi government redefined domicile rules for government jobs in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, allowing Indians from across the country to apply for local jobs in the Union territory, including its police force.
During the session, Jitendra Singh said since the domicile rules were notified, he has received a lot of calls and messages from several Kashmiri Pandits not just in India but across the world, who can now think of returning to their land.
He also accused a “few select families” for keeping the region deprived of development, adding that the central Acts are now applicable in the region. He cited the examples of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana under which more houses have been constructed.
“Some of the UTs don’t even have a single AIIMS, but look at the big heart of PM Modi that J&K has two AIIMS. But they have not been fully functional as the faculty could not be appointed, and we will change that,” he added.