Statehood will be restored to Jammu and Kashmir “in due time”, Home Minister Amit Shah said on Saturday as the Centre introduced the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Amendment Bill 2021, which aims to replace the J&K cadre with AGMUT cadre in the Union Territory.
Shah urged the opposition to not oppose the bill “just for the sake of politics”.
Highlighting that the bill does not mention anything about not granting statehood to the UT, Shah said, “I will reiterate again that this bill has nothing to do with the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir, in due time J&K will be given statehood.”
“Many MPs said that bringing Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 means J&K won’t get statehood. I am piloting the Bill, I brought it. I have clarified the intentions. Nowhere it’s written that J&K won’t get statehood. Where are you drawing conclusion from?” Shah said.
He also took a jibe at the Congress party by saying, “you are asking us what we did in the last 17 months, what have you done in the last 70 years.”
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.
During discussions in the Lok Sabha on Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Amendment Bill 2021, opposition party members slammed BJP for making empty promises in the Union Territory and giving a tainted picture of “Vikas” happening there. Congress pointed out at increase in internet bans, ceasefire violations, curfews as well as the shrinkage of industries since the abrogation of article 370. Congress MP Manish Tiwari urged BJP to restore statehood in Jammu and Kashmir.