Attacking the Congress, Home Minister Amit Shah said on Sunday that the party should be “ashamed” that its leader Rahul Gandhi’s statement was used by Pakistan in its petition to the UN on Kashmir.
At a public meeting, Shah, also the BJP president, said people have supported the government’s move to nullify Article 370 but some, he added in a swipe at Mr. Gandhi, are still opposing it.
“The Congress opposed the move to remove Article 370. Whatever statements Rahul Gandhi make are lauded in Pakistan. Pakistan has included his comments in its plea. Congress leaders should be ashamed that these statements are being used against India,” he said.
Mr. Shah said not a single bullet or teargas shell has been fired in Kashmir nor has anybody been killed since the Centre revoked Article 370.
“Today, questions are being raised about law and order in Kashmir. I would like to tell the entire country and the world that Kashmir is entirely peaceful. Ever since the removal of Article 370, not a single bullet or teargas shell has been fired, nor has anybody been killed in Kashmir till date,” he said at a rally in Silvassa, Gujarat.
Shah said the revocation of the special status paved the way for development in the State and it will be a “final nail in the coffin of terrorism”. The move has fully integrated Jammu and Kashmir with India, he said.
The Congress had hit out at Pakistan for dragging Mr. Gandhi’s name, and the former Congress chief had tweeted that Jammu and Kashmir was an internal matter and there was no room for Pakistan or any other country to intervene.
Mr. Shah accused the Congress of breaking the tradition of the Opposition supporting the government on issues of national interest.
He claimed the BJP and its predecessor Bharatiya Jan Sangh, when in the Opposition, supported governments over issues of national interest like the war with Pakistan and China, and over resolutions declaring Jammu and Kashmir an integral part of India.
“It has been a tradition in the country. When the question is of national interest, we should rise above party politics to think about the country. You [Congress] are breaking the tradition. You do not know that when you play votebank politics, people are assessing you on the same,” he said.
Mr. Shah also accused the Congress of siding with people raising anti-India slogans in Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi as well as questioning the Modi government over surgical strikes on Pakistan.
“When slogans were raised in JNU, the Congress stood with those people. When Narendra Modi [government] conducted surgical strikes, they raised questions asking for photographs. Pakistan similarly raised questions asking where is the photograph,” he said.
“When we removed Article 370 and 35A, you continue to oppose us. I would like to ask Congress leaders, where do you want to do politics? You do not know the people of India, who stand like a rock behind Narendra Modi,” he noted.
He said the decision to aborgate Article 370 could only be taken by the Prime Minister and the move would pave the way for peace and development in the State.
“I can tell you, as his Minister, the decision taken by Modiji is something that nobody else could have taken. Many came and went in 70 years, ruled for three generations, but could not remove Article 370. People are blessing the Prime Minister for this,” he said.
Declare birth anniversary of Hari Singh public holiday: Karan Singh to Guv
Senior Congress leader Karan Singh on Friday urged Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik to declare his father Hari Singh”s birth anniversary next week as a public holiday, asserting that it was due to the state”s erstwhile ruler that it became a part of India.
Singh, the former Sadar-e-Riyasat of Jammu and Kashmir, said that for many years there had been a strong demand to declare the birthday of Hari Singh as a public holiday.
“In fact, both my sons had a resolution to this effect passed in the legislative council some years ago, but so far no action has been taken. The birth anniversary is on Monday, September 23,” he said in a statement.
“Let us recall that it was due to Maharaja Hari Singh ji that Jammu and Kashmir state became a part of India when he signed the instrument of accession on October 26, 1947. Apart from that he was a progressive and a far-sighted ruler who instituted many social and economic reforms for the welfare of the people,” he said.
Singh said as far back as 1929, his father had declared all temples in the state open to Dalits.
“I urge the governor to declare this day as a public holiday,” he said
Fresh restrictions in Kashmir in view of Friday prayers
Fresh restrictions were imposed in parts of Kashmir on Friday as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order in view of congregational prayers, officials said.
Normal life continued to remain affected across the valley for the 47th consecutive day with markets closed and public transport off the roads, the officials said.
Restrictions under Section 144 CrPc have been imposed in few areas of the valley to maintain law and order, the officials said.
They said the curbs have been imposed in Nowhatta and adjoining areas in downtown (interior city) and Anchar area of Soura police station in Srinagar.
The restrictions have also been imposed in Kupwara and Handwara police districts and the main towns of Ganderbal, Anantnag and Bijbehara, the officials added.
Security forces have been deployed in strength in vulnerable areas in the rest of the valley, they said.
The officials said the curbs were a precautionary measure to maintain law and order in view of apprehensions that vested interests might exploit the large Friday prayer gatherings at big mosques and shrines to fuel protests.
Friday prayers have not been allowed at any of the major mosques or shrines – including Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta or Dargah Sharief in Hazratbal – in the valley for the past over a month now.
Restrictions were first imposed across Kashmir on August 5 when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate the state into two Union territories. The restrictions were lifted in phases from many parts of the valley.
Internet services have remained suspended across all platforms, they said. While landlines across the valley were functional, voice calls on mobile devices were working only in Kupwara and Handwara police districts of north Kashmir, they added.
The efforts of the state government to open schools have not borne fruit as parents continued to keep children at home due to apprehensions about their safety.
Most of the top-level and second rung mainstream politicians, including three former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, continued to be in detention or under house arrest.
While NC president Farooq Abdullah was first placed under house arrest, he was on Tuesday booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA).
His son Omar and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti were detained on the night of August 4 — hours before the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and to bifurcate the state into two Union territories.
Most of the mainstream leaders, including former ministers and legislators, were also either detained or kept under house arrest, the officials said.
Ignoring protests, Gates Foundation to give Narendra Modi global award
New York: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be awarding the Global Gatekeepers Award to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his leadership in India’s achievement sanitation, the organisation has announced.
“Modi is receiving an award at the Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the progress India is making in improving sanitation, as part of its drive toward achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” the Foundation said in a statement to IANS on Wednesday.
“Sanitation is a key factor in improving the health and well-being of millions of people, especially women and children,” it added.
Modi is being recognised by the foundation in New York on September 24 for the Swachh Bharat Mission of which the constructions of toilets is a key element.
A motley collection of Indian secularists, Pakistanis, activists and entertainers have opposed the award to Modi alleging he was responsible for human rights violations and for India rescinding the special status for Kashmir.
Some influential US media also published articles demanding that the Foundation cancel the award.
The publications include Foreign Policy magazine’s website, and Washington Post that is owned by Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, which has disputes with the Indian government. The Post published an opinion article by two Indian-origin lawyers.
An organisation called S Asian Philanthropy published in the Medium a letter signed by people of Indian origin and others representing various foundations and NGOs.
National Public Radio reported that a dozen demonstrators with “Stop Genocide, a project of the American human rights group Justice For All”, delivered a petition with 100,000 signatures to the Gates Foundation headquarters in Seattle protesting the award for Modi.
The radio also said that three Nobel Peace Prize winners – Shirin Ebadi of Iran, Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman of Yemen and Mairead Maguire of Britain – had also sent the Gates a protest letter.