Rejecting any dialogue with Pakistan on Kashmir, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said that his government was more interested in talking to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and assured them that assembly polls will be held with "full transparency".
At his first public rally in the Valley after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019, Shah, in his 27-minute speech at Showkat Ali stadium in Baramulla district, trained his guns at leaders from opposition parties NC, PDP and Congress with frequent references to the "three families", "Mufti and company" and "Abdullah and sons".
The Home Minister blamed Abdullahs (National Conference), Muftis (PDP) and Nehru-Gandhi (Congress) for the "lack of development" in Jammu and Kashmir as they ruled the erstwhile state for most of the years since the country's independence.
"Those people who ruled here for 70 years advise me to talk to Pakistan. I have a clear intention that I don't want to talk to Pakistan, but I want to talk to my Gujjar, Pahari and Bakerwal brothers of Baramulla.
"I will talk to the youth of Kashmir. Think, what did Kashmir achieve because of militancy? Today, every state of the country is moving forward, and Kashmir will also have to keep pace. We don't have to tread the path shown by terrorists.
"The youth of Kashmir will tread the path of country's development, will join corporate sector after securing education and jobs. Modi is taking the country forward. I appeal to you to support him," Shah told the jam-packed stadium.
The Home Minister also used the occasion to announce that the political process has been initiated in the union territory.
"I want to assure you that once the Election Commission completes the electoral rolls exercise, elections will be conducted in Kashmir with full transparency so that your elected representatives govern here."
He said that before delimitation, only the "three families" used to come to power, "but the delimitation by the Election Commission will result in your own representatives winning in the elections and then governing".
Ahead of his visit to the Baramulla, security arrangements were tightened by the police and paramilitary forces to ward off any threat by terrorists.
Shah was greeted with cheers from the audience when he paused during his speech briefly as 'Azaan' or Muslim call to prayer started from a nearby mosque.
Five minutes into his speech, Shah paused and asked those on the stage "if something was going on at a mosque".
When someone on the dais told him that it was an 'Azaan', Shah stopped his speech briefly and the people chanted slogans hailing him.
Shah said that it was the government's endeavour to make Jammu and Kashmir the most peaceful place in the country.
"Has terror benefited anyone ever in the world? About 42,000 people of J-K have lost their lives from 1990 till now because of terrorism. Tell me, who is responsible for this? These three families who have ruled J-K are responsible," he said.
The Home Minister asserted that terrorism is slowly and steadily coming to an end and cited the development work undertaken after Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over the reins in Delhi.
"God forbid, if anyone in your family falls ill, Modi ji will provide free of cost treatment up to Rs five lakh. About 77 lakh people have been given (Ayushman Bharat gold) cards and they will not have to spend even a single rupee for their treatment.
"There were one lakh people who had no shelter in bone-chilling cold. For 70 years, Mufti and company, and Abdullah and sons, ruled J-K, but one lakh people didn't get houses.
"However, from 2014 till 2022, Modi ji gave houses to one lakh people in J-K," he said, adding about 12 lakh families were provided with gas cylinders and the prime minister got rid of "chulhas".
Shah said that there were two models available for the people - one of Prime Minister Modi which talks about development, peace and unity, and increases employment avenues, and the other one is the Gupkar model which let the Pulwama attack happen.
The Gupkar model brings Pakistani terrorists, while the Modi model brings Rs 56,000 crore worth of investment on the ground which will provide five lakh jobs, he said
"In the Gupkar model, youth get stones, machine guns, but in Modi model, youth get IIT, AIIMS, NIFT, NEET.
"The youth need education Abdullah sahab, don't put stones in their hands. Modi ji has made it possible for youth to shed stones and get on with their studies," he said adding that under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, the ecosystem of terror has almost ended.
"If anyone supports terrorists in your locality, please make him understand that Kashmir will not benefit from terrorism. Bring him back to the mainstream. Kashmir will benefit from democracy, from industries being set up here and other developmental steps," he said.
Due to the improved security situation, 22 lakhs tourists have visited Jammu and Kashmir this year so far whereas the figure earlier stood at an average of six to seven lakh, Shah said.
"Earlier it was a terrorist hotspot but today it is a tourist hotspot. Imagine how many people have benefited from this," he said.
Shah on Wednesday visited the house of policeman Mudasir Sheikh, who was killed in an encounter in Baramulla district, at Uri, 100 km from Srinagar, and met his family members.
He also presided over a review meeting on the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir where Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and senior officials of the Centre, officers of the Army, CAPF, J-K Police and Jammu and Kashmir Government were present.
Shah came down heavily on the three political families, alleging that their rule was full of misgovernance, corruption and lack of development.
Mufti and company, Abdullah and sons and the Congress have done nothing for the welfare of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, he alleged at the rally.
The home minister repeated what he had said at his rally in Rajouri on Tuesday that earlier, power in Jammu and Kashmir was with three families, 87 MLAs and six MPs.
Now 30,000 people, who were elected representatives of panchayat and districts councils, are part of the governance process, he said.
He said the first work done under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is that democracy has reached the grass root level.
Shah said due to Article 370, there was no reservation for the SCs and STs but after its abrogation, quota benefits could be given to Gujjars, Bakarwal and Pahadis.
Everyone will get their due share under the reservation. There will be no loss of share for anyone, he said.
On Tuesday, Shah announced that ST reservation benefits will be given to the Pahadi community along with Gujjar and Bakarwal communities following a recommendation of the Sharma Commission.
At the rally here, Shah said that Rs 56,000 crore investment has come to Jammu and Kashmir in the last three years which will give employment opportunities to five lakh people, while just Rs 17,000 crore investment had come since independence.
"Today I have come to ask Farooq Sahab and Mehooba Mufti ji to give an account of how much investment has come into Jammu and Kashmir during their rule of 70 years. How many industries had come up? How many factories were set up and how many youths benefited from employment," Shah said.
He alleged that rampant corruption led to underdevelopment in Jammu and Kashmir and said the Modi government has ensured that every rupee being spent goes to those most deserving.
He said it was the third day of his visit to Jammu and Kashmir and he was happy to see that development has taken place in the Union territory.
"Some days back, I read a tweet from Mehbooba Mufti in which she had asked me to give an 'account' of our work.
"Mehbooba Ji, keep your eyes and ears open. You along with Farooq (Abdullah) sahab should see what we have given and compare it with the rule of three families over the last 75 years,'' he said.
Shah said all states have an Anti-Corruption Bureau except Jammu and Kashmir and alleged that the "three families" were responsible for stalling it. "I wonder why they did not allow it," he said.