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AGMUT for J&K: Congress opposes bill in Lok Sabha, says cadre should remain local as Kashmir a ‘sensitive state’

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The government of India Saturday introduced in Lok Sabha the bill to replace an ordinance to merge the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) cadre of civil services officers with the Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre .

Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy, while introducing ‘The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021’, said the government was “working to take Jammu and Kashmir on the path to development”.

 

“I request the members to pass the bill,” he added.

Raising objections on the bill, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, as per news agency PTI, asked “what was the need to bring an ordinance for this?”.

The Congress leader said Jammu and Kashmir is a sensitive state and the cadre should be local and officers having ground knowledge should be appointed there.

He said regularly promulgating an ordinance is not good for a parliamentary democracy as an ordinance should be preceded by an emergency situation or any urgency.

“Our point of contention is loud and clear,” he said, adding after abrogating Article 370, the government showed a “dream” to the people that they would “make heaven” in Jammu and Kashmir and create jobs there.

Introduction of this bill reflects that the government took the step of abrogating Article 370 without any preparation, Chowdhury alleged.

He alleged that militancy is still prevalent in the union territory and people are living in an atmosphere of fear.

The government tried to turn Jammu and Kashmir into a large prison, the opposition leader said, adding they blocked telecommunication services and failed to normalise the situation there.

“There is unemployment, restriction, lost avenues and total confusion,” Chowdhury added.

He further said the government had promised to bring back Kashmiri Pandits to the Kashmir valley but has failed to ensure their return.

“Please think for Jammu and Kashmir with new ideas and do not take adhoc measures,” he said, adding the government should make Jammu and Kashmir a state and create a cadre to appoint officers there.

Speaking against the bill, Hasnain Masoodi (J&K NC) said this bill is akin to an assault on the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“You are continuously increasing confusion…What is the objective of this bill? …You are taking Jammu and Kashmir towards uncertainty through this bill,” he said, adding appointed officers should have connect with the ground realities.

He added that the government should restore the position of Jammu and Kashmir to that prior to August 5, 2019.