Shah offers more sops to Kashmir

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Home Minister says Modi model was implementing an investment of ₹56,000 crore on the ground giving employment to the youth in J&K…reports Asian Lite News

Union Home Minister Amit Shah took a firm position against Pakistan on Wednesday, and said that while “some people” advocated talks with the western neighbour, India would not talk to Pakistan, and would talk to the people of Kashmir instead.

In an impassioned speech in Baramulla on the third day of his visit to Jammu and Kashmir, Shah attacked former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and the Congress, alleging that the political formations that had ruled Kashmir before the abrogation of article 370 in August 2019, had laid a “red carpet” for Pakistani terrorists into India.

Shah said, “Some people say we should talk to Pakistan. Why should we talk to Pakistan? We will not talk. We will talk to the people of Baramulla, we will talk to the people of Kashmir.”

The Home Minister juxtaposed two political models that operate in Kashmir, drawing a difference between the “Gupkar model” and that of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi led BJP. The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration(PAGD) is an alliance of six regional parties in Jammu and Kashmir led by Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, that wants the restoration of Article 70 and statehood to Jammu and Kashmir.

“There are two models. One of PM Modi which gives employment, peace and brotherhood; and another is the Gupkar model which led to the Pulwama attack. PM Modi made a hospital in Pulwama at an expense of ₹2,000 crore. The Gupkar model is laying the red carpet for the Pakistani terrorists into the country, whereas the Modi model is implementing an investment of ₹56,000 crore on the ground giving employment to the youth. Gupkar model placed stones, closed colleges, and machine guns in the hands of the youth,” he said.

National Conference vice president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah responded to Shah, and said that when the Pulwama attack took place in February 2019, the state was being administered by the central government appointed governor Satya Pal Malik. Abdullah shared photographs of Prime Minister Modi with leaders of the Gupkar alliance and asked, “If “Gupkar model gave guns & stones to youth of Kashmir” why on earth are PM & other senior leaders inviting these “Gupkar leaders” to meetings in Delhi”?

Shah’s speech came on a day when former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti accused the state administration of keeping her in house arrest, and preventing her from attending a wedding in Baramulla district. The Srinagar police however refuted these allegations and said that there was no such restriction, and she was free to travel. Mufti said that she was finally allowed to leave her home around 4 pm on Wednesday afternoon.

High on symbolism

There was much symbolism in the Home Minister’s speech on Wednesday, even as he removed the bullet proof glass that framed his podium, a gesture he had previously made in October 2021 as he was addressing a rally in Srinagar. Shah also briefly stopped his speech with the sounds of “azaan” emanating from a local mosque, restarting only after asking the audience if he could begin again.

Shah said that the three families– a reference to the Abdullahs, Muftis and the Gandhis were responsible for the terrorism that has plagued the valley.

“Has terrorism done any good to anybody in the world? Can the sympathisers of terrorism tell of any such incident? 42,000 people of J-K have been victims of terrorism from 1990 till today. Who is responsible for their deaths? The three families that ruled here were responsible. Terrorism is moving towards extinction,” he said.

Hitting back, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said the BJP has nothing to show, except their broken record of dynastic rule.

“Dedicating his speech to answer my questions, HM forgets that Mufti sahab was CM for just 3.5 years & doesn’t need validation from him for his work for welfare of J&K.Even after ruling J&K directly since 2018,BJP has nothing to show except their broken record of dynastic rule,” she tweeted.

Congress spokesperson Sheikh Amir, too, said that Shah didn’t speak on the real issues like restoration of J&K’s statehood, economic blockade of fruit growers, unemployment and scams that surfaced in J&K. “Today’s rally was organised with an eye on elections and to divide people of J&K.”

He added that being the Home Minister of India he should have talked on real issues.

The Union minister said that Prime Minister Modi had taken the region’s politics down to the “panches, sarpanches, BDC and DDC’s” from being the sole preserve of the “families that ruled Kashmir.” He also promised elections in Jammu and Kashmir as soon as voter’s lists were compiled, and that the controversial new delimitation exercise by the Election Commission, which regional parties have opposed, would bring people’s representatives. “Earlier the delimitation was done in such a way that only the representatives from the three families would be elected, no matter what you do. The delimitation that Election Commission has done, your own representatives will win the elections and rule.”

According to the fresh delimitation, of the 90 assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir, 43 will be from Jammu and 47 from Kashmir. This was 37 and 46 earlier.

Before his speech in Baramullah, Shah chaired a security review meeting in Srinagar, attended by Governor Manoj Sinha, and top police, army, CRPF and BSF officials from the area. After his rally, Shah also traveled to Uri to meet the family of policeman Mudasir Ahmad Sheikh, killed in an encounter on May 25. Home Minister Amit Shah also visited historic Gurdwara at Chatti Patshahi at Rainwari in Srinagar later in the day.

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