Srinagar, Jan 02: Batting for regaining the lost trust and negating the misgivings in certain sections in Jammu and Kashmir, Governor N.N. Vohra on Tuesday said the State government sees 2018 as a year of opportunities and a period for fully exploiting all possible openings and opportunities.
He also called for tough and targeted actions by the security forces to ensure that the arc of violence does not spread from the fringes to the mainstream, to disrupt the lives in the valley yet again.
“We shall need to regain the lost trust and negate the misgivings in certain sections of our society [in Kashmir],” he said in his address to the joint session of the legislature in Jammu on Tuesday.
The Budget Session began on a stormy note as the Opposition staged a walkout during Vohra’s address to protest alleging failure of the PDP-BJP government on all fronts particularly security.
“The subsequent appointment by the Union government of a special representative to hold talks with the people belonging to all shades of opinion is recognition of the concern for widening the constituency of peace, to include even those who may have contrary ideological convictions,” Vohra said.
The Governor hoped that 2018 will prove to be a year of opportunities on several fronts.
“Government firmly believes that the elected and the electorate have equal stakes in the peace process and, together, they will have to rise against those who choose violence to disrupt the established order,” he said.
The governor further said “such challenges will be met through dialogue, which is the best means of resolving all disagreements.”
He said the government appeals to all those who had earlier refused to be part of the peace process to come forward and accept the special representative for Kashmir’s offer for engaging in dialogue.
Vohra batted strongly for tough and targeted action by security forces to check violence.
“Government remains committed to taking all possible steps for building on the peace dividend and also remains equally determined to ensure that the arc of violence does not spread from the fringes to the mainstream, to yet again disrupt our lives. This will require tough and targeted actions by our security forces,” he said.
“For the past several months our security forces have been successfully carrying out targeted counter terrorist operations. While they shall engage in such operations whenever it is necessary to do so, it is hoped that these shall involve the least possible collateral damage to the lives and properties of innocent persons,” he said.
He also hailed the role of the brave hearts of Army, Central Armed Police Forces and the J&K Police who have been operating in the most difficult circumstances and laying down their lives in the fight against terror and violence.
He said that while the valour and sacrifices made by our police personnel cannot ever be viewed in monetary terms, the government has, to express it unbounded gratitude, taken several measures for further enhancing the welfare of our policemen and their families.
“Side by side, recognising the serious visual disabilities suffered by youth who received pellet injuries, government has decided to rehabilitate them and mitigate their sufferings to the maximum possible extent,” he added.
The Governor said that the government is aware of the growing aspirations of our students, some of whom have secured outstanding achievements in academics, sports and many other fields.
“As regards our youth who have been influenced and misled into deviating from the path, the government remains committed to weaning them away from the purveyors of violence,” he said.
Vohra said the real battle is “not on the streets but to combat and counter the deviation of the younger generation from the inherited values of our society.”
Asserting that the Government remains committed to take all possible steps for building on the peace dividend, he said it also remains equally determined to ensure that the arc of violence does not spread from the fringes to the mainstream, to yet again disrupt the people’s lives.
“As regards our youth who have been influenced and misled into deviating from the path, the Government remains committed to weaning them away from the purveyors of violence. Thus the real battle is not on the streets but to combat and counter the deviation of the younger generation from the inherited values of the society. Government is committed to patiently listening to the youth and to do everything to bring them back to the fold,” he opined.
Describing as sad the enduring images of the happenings in 2016 related to stone pelting mobs on the streets and pictures of those who had received pellet injuries, he expressed satisfaction that the children have since gone back to where they belong, to schools and colleges, and are now doing their best to do well in their studies and in other activities.
The Governor said the government is well aware of the growing aspirations of the students, some of whom have secured outstanding achievements in academics, sports and many other fields.
The Governor said that recognizing its responsibility to rehabilitate the trauma-affected children, the Government has decided to promote their all-round development and, as a part of this effort, the Juvenile Homes in Harwan and R S Pura are being upgraded to provide rehabilitative facilities for the affected children. He further informed that the Government has also established 22 Juvenile Police Units across all districts of the State and proposes to establish 8 Juvenile Justice Boards and 8 Observation Homes in eight districts, during the current fiscal. The facilities at the existing Orphanages are also being upgraded.
Recalling that for the past several months the forces have been successfully carrying out targeted anti-militancy operations, the Governor hoped that these shall involve the least possible collateral damage to the lives and properties of innocent persons.
The Governor said that the Government is also committed to look after the Kashmiri Pandits who chose to stay back when their brethren left the Valley during the period of peak militancy. Recognizing the sacrifices made by the Kashmir based Pandits, Government has authorized their special recruitment under the Prime Minister’s Package, at par with their migrant brethren.
He said the tourism is the mainstay of the state’s economy. Around 1.2 million tourists, including over 26,000 foreigners, visited the State during 2017, despite unrest in the Valley and less than fair reporting by certain sections of the media. Further, more than 8 million pilgrims paid obeisance at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine while about 2.60 lakh yatris visited Shri Amarnathji Shrine last year.
The Governor said that the Government will take all required steps to ensure that tourists from far and wide find their way back to the State. Towards this end, all infrastructural bottlenecks will be removed and the State’s strengths in this sector will be positively leveraged to not only build the required capacities but to also address the perception issues.