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Restoring democracy, eliminating terror from J&K top priority


Press Trust of India New Delhi
Restoring democracy and eliminating terrorism from Jammu and Kashmir are the top priorities of the government, Home Minister Amit Shah Friday said in the Lok Sabha.
Moving a statutory resolution to extend President's Rule in Jammu and Kashmir for another six months, he said since the state assembly has been dissolved and the Election Commission has decided to hold fresh elections in the state later this year, it is essential that President's Rule be extended for another six months with effect from July 3, 2019.
"I want to state this clearly that restoring democracy is the top priority of the BJP-led government" and the government is serious about this, he said.
He added, "We are committed to eliminating terrorism from its root in the state".
He said that given the current situation of the state, it is fundamental to extend the President's rule.
Shah said in the past decade, never-ever elections have been conducted during the current season as there was the month of Ramzan (May 7-June 4). Amarnath Yatra is coming from June 30 to August 15 and the Bakarwal community also moves to higher reaches during this time and returns only in October.
As the Election Commission has decided to conduct Elections at the end of the year, now it is mandatory to extend the President's rule, he said.
He also said that this is not the first time when governor's or President's rule was imposed on the state.
Earlier governor's and President's rule was imposed seven and two times respectively.
The minister said that in the last one year, the government has followed zero tolerance towards terrorism and all steps have been taken to hit the root of terrorism.
Further he said panchayat elections were not happening in the state, but it was conducted during this period.
The government has also directly transfered Rs 700 crore in bank accounts for "panch and sarpanch" and more would be transferred for development.
There was always bloodshed in elections in the state and this time elections took place for 40,000 posts and there were no death reports, Shah said.
"Voting percentage has increased and law and order situation is under control," he said, adding for the first time people of Jammu and Ladakh are realising they are a part of the state.
He said the government has resolved most of the issues of the state such as matters related to immigrants of PoK and West Pakistan.
Now the government is also providing compensation to people if their cattle dies, he said adding the government is valuing lives of every single person living on the border.
He also said the government will construct 15,000 bunkers within a fixed time period.
The Home Minister urged members to rise above party lines and pass the resolution.
This is the first proposal Shah has moved in the Lok Sabha after being appointed as the home minister in the second tenure of the Narendra Modi government.
Talking about the background for imposing Governor's and President Rule's, he said as no political party came forward to prove majority in the legislature last year in June after the BJP rolled back its support from the PDP, Governor's rule was imposed on June 2018 and the state assembly was kept in suspended animation.
Governor Satypal Malik on November 21, 2018 dissolve the 87-member assembly after the PDP supported by the Congress and their arch rival National Conference staked claim to form the government. The governor had dissolve the assembly citing horse trading and lack of stability to form the government.
On December 20, 2018 President's rule was imposed.
The Home Minister also moved the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019, to replace an ordinance issued by the previous government.
People living along the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir will get benefits of reservation in direct recruitment, promotion and admission in professional courses on par with those living along the Actual Line of Control (ALoC), according to the bill introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday.
Shah said that as per law, 43 per cent reservation is available in the state and under this 3 per cent is for people living along the LoC. The bill provides to extend reservation under this 3 per cent to people living along the International Border (IB) in the state.
He said that due to ceasefire violations by the neighbouring country, people particularly students living along the LoC and IB face problems.
"This reservation is not to please anybody," he said adding due to bombardments people are forced to stay in shelters and students stay away from schools.
"This will help 3.5 lakh people living in Kathua, Samba and Jammu," he said.
The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019, will replace an ordinance issued by the previous government.
The Bill was introduced by Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy on behalf of Home Minister Shah.
Some members from the opposition wanted to oppose introduction of the bill but Speaker Om Birla rejected their demand, saying they had not followed the procedure for doing so.
The bill seeks to provide relief to people living in areas adjoining the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir.
They can now avail benefits of reservation in direct recruitment, promotion and admission in different professional courses.
The Bill once passed by Parliament will amend the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 to bring persons residing in areas adjoining the IB within the ambit of reservation, on par with those living in areas adjoining the ALoC.
People living in areas adjoining the IB in Jammu and Kashmir were not included in the ambit of the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 and Rules, 2005.
The rules provided for reservation in direct recruitment, promotions and admission in different professional courses to various categories, including residents of areas adjoining ALoC. Thus, those living in areas adjoining the IB in Jammu and Kashmir were not getting these benefits for a long time.
Due to continuous cross-border tensions, persons living along the IB suffer from socio-economic and educational backwardness.
Shelling from across the border often compels residents to move to safer places, which adversely impacts their education as schools and colleges remain closed for long periods.
The House decided to take up the resolution on extension of President's Rule as well as the reservation bill together. Initially it was opposed by the Congress, but the home minister said it will save time if the House took up the two together.
RSP's N K Premachandran strongly opposed the resolution but supported the content of the reservation bill.
Describing the Jammu and Kashmir's Governor decision to dissolve the state assembly as 'arbitrary', he said the right to form an alternative government was not given.
Premchandaran said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is advocating for simultaneous state assembly and Lok Sabha polls in the country then why assembly polls were not held along with general elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

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First Published: Jun 28 2019 | 2:25 PM IST

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