Union Home Minister Amit Shah wound up his 3-day J&K visit by spending a night at a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp at Lethpora in South Kashmir's Pulwama district. He extended his J&K visit to be with soldiers. It was a strong message to adversaries that India's leadership and armed forces are on the same page.
Out of all places he chose Pulwama, where 40 CRPF men were martyred in a suicide attack on February 14, 2019. The attack carried out by Jaish militants had brought India and Pakistan to a precipice. India avenged the attack by carrying out airstrikes at Balakote deep within the Pakistan territory. Had the world powers not intervened, India-Pakistan war was inevitable. The Pulwama attack led to the Centre revamping its Kashmir strategy. A massive crackdown was launched against militants and their sympathizers in the Valley and National investigation Agency (NIA) broke the back of terror funding by choking the Hawala channels through which illegal money used to flow to sponsor violence, street protests and stone pelting in Kashmir.
Soon after BJP won the 2019 parliamentary elections with a thumping majority, the dispensation led by PM Modi gave a final shape to "Mission Kashmir" and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, was assigned the task to scrap J&K's special status and merge the erstwhile princely State into Union of India completely.
The task was accomplished on August 5, 2019, when the Centre announced its decision to "bite the bullet." It abrogated Articles 370 and 35-A, which provided special privileges to residents of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions along with it the Himalayan region was divided into two Union Territories, J&K and Ladakh.
The 3-day J&K visit of Amit Shah, which was his first after the abrogation of Article 370, was eventful as he touched each and every aspect. He inaugurated development projects, chaired a security review meeting in Srinagar, addressed a rally in Jammu, met the youth in Kashmir and visited border village Makwal close to the Line of Control in Jammu region.
The Union Home Minister made it clear that he would talk to Kashmiri youth and not Pakistan. He sent a clear message to the traditional politicians of the Valley that what they couldn't do in 70-years, the government led by PM Modi has done it within two years.
Amit Shah gave a clear signal that the Centre wants inclusive Jammu and Kashmir which would comprise of Muslims, Pandits, Hindus, Sikhs and members of the other communities. The time has changed and no one can dominate the narrative and discourse in Jammu and Kashmir. The Valley based politicians need to understand that they can no longer blackmail the Centre nor can they claim that they are the only ones who are born to rule Jammu and Kashmir.
The Union Home Minister laid bare the roadmap for J&K by announcing that after the delimitation exercise (process to redraw parliamentary and assembly constituencies) gets completed assembly elections will be held and after that statehood would be restored.
He gave a clear message to militants, their handlers sitting across the Line of Control and their sympathizers that no one would be allowed to disrupt the peace, progress and prosperity in Jammu and Kashmir.
Speculation put at rest
Amit Shah's J&K visit proved to be a complete package. It put many speculations to rest and drove home a point that the Centre is interested in the people and not the traditional politicians, who are still harping about holding talks with Pakistan.
Addressing an event at SKICC in Srinagar, Shah said that Kashmiri youth should sit back and think what good did such people do, who placed stones and weapons in their hands. "They talk about Pakistan. Pakistan occupied Kashmir is nearby, ask whether villages there have electricity, hospitals, medical colleges, drinking water, toilets for women. There is nothing there and these people talk about Pakistan. I have come to tell you that you have as much right in India as any citizen of India. You have as much right to development and the treasury of the Government of India as every citizen of India has. The people of Kashmir have to take this process forward with determination," he said while interacting with the youth.
The Union Home Minister said that 40,000 people were killed and these people (Kashmiri leaders) always kept saying talk to Pakistan, talk to the Hurriyat, and what was the result? They destroyed tourism in the Valley. They never condemned terrorism.
Shah said that from March 2020 to March 2021, 1,31,000tourists from India and abroad visited Jammu and Kashmir, which is the highest figure since Independence. "Those disturbing peace wanted no industry to come up, youth to remain unemployed and indulge in stone pelting. We want youth to pick up books instead of stones, instruments instead of weapons and to make their life," he added.
While addressing a rally in Jammu, the Union Home Minister told Jammu people that the era of injustice with them is over and now, no one would ignore them. "You have faced injustice for years but now Jammu and Kashmir will develop together and both will take India forward together," he said.
Youth hold the key
In both the regions i.e. Kashmir and Jammu, Amit Shah asked the people to have faith in Government of India and country's leadership. He minced no words to make it clear that anti-nationals won't be tolerated and anyone who tries to challenge India's sovereignty will have to face the consequences.
Amit Shah's maiden visit to J&K after the historic decision of August 5, 2019, assumed more significance in the backdrop of the recent civilian killings in the Valley. In the ongoing month militants shot dead eleven civilians, including nine from the minority communities. He assured the people that no one will be allowed to spill the innocent blood anymore and minorities in J&K will be protected as the "New Jammu and Kashmir" belongs to all the communities.
His visit has encouraged the security forces to launch a final assault against the militants so that militancy and violence are eradicated from J&K completely. The Union Home Minister ended his visit on a positive note. His message was clear that all the debates over J&K have been settled. Youth hold the key to make a new beginning and they need to come forward.
( 1077 Words)