Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who is on a three-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, had an eventful day on Tuesday when he addressed a large public meeting at Rajouri and launched several developmental projects later.
Shah reached Jammu on Monday evening after which he met people from various communities including Gujjar-Bakarwal, Rajput, Pahari and Jammu Sikh.
He kickstarted his day on Tuesday with a visit to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine in Katra where he offered prayers. Notably, this was Shah's first visit to the holy shrine after being appointed the Home Minister of the Modi government 2.0. His visit, which was accompanied by Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and Union Minister Jitendra Singh, coincided with the ninth day of the ongoing Navratri festival.
Keeping the maintenance of public order in view, the J-K administration temporarily suspended the internet services in specific areas of Rajouri under the fear that the services will be "misused by anti-national elements, that may cause deterioration in public order".
Shah addressed a public meeting in the afternoon at Rajouri which was echoed by cheers and slogans.
"Today's rally in Jammu and Kashmir, slogans of 'Modi, Modi', all of these are answers for those who used to say that if Article 370 is removed, there will be a fire in Jammu and Kashmir, rivers of blood will flow," said Shah.
The Home Minister said that the Gujjar, Bakarwal and Pahari communities will be soon given reservations.
"After the abrogation of Article 370, the process for reservation has been cleared. Justice Sharma's commission has sent the report and recommended reservation for Gujjar, Bakarwal and Pahari communities and it will be given soon," said Shah.
Stating that the reservation is being possible because of the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A, a move which was made on August 5, 2019, in Parliament.
"Would it have been possible to get a tribal reservation if Articles 370 and 35A were not removed? With their removal now, minorities, Dalits, tribals and Paharis will get their rights," said Shah.
Shah, on the occasion, also launched a scathing attack on the Opposition, which, he alleged, had removed the meaning of democracy from the region "to rule for generations".
"For 70 years, Jammu and Kashmir was ruled by three families, democracy was built only within their families. Did all of you ever get the right of Gram Panchayat, Tehsil Panchayat, and Zilla Panchayat? Three families had removed the meaning of democracy, Jamhooriyat only to rule for generations," said Shah.
The Home Minister said that the valley witnessed its first panchayat elections only after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.
"The government changed in the country, Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister in 2014, then Modi ji first conducted Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier, only three families had the rule, today all have come under the rule of Jammu and Kashmir," he said.
Giving a comparative view of the earlier and present picture of the region, Shah said, "Earlier, news of stone pelting used to come from Jammu and Kashmir. Today there is no news of stone pelting. Modi ji has worked to empower the youth of Jammu and Kashmir."
Later in the evening, Shah inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of various development projects in Jammu.
Addressing on the occasion, the Home Minister said that the Modi government is working to bring J-K at par with other states of the country in terms of development.
"The rule of three families has left Jammu and Kashmir thousands of km behind the rest of the country in terms of development. Since 2014, Modi ji has worked to bring this backward Jammu and Kashmir at par with almost all the states in terms of development," he said.
"The three families have promoted politics of separatism instead of development. There are neither processions nor stone-pelting now in J-K because the government is moving forward on the path of development," Shah added.
Underlining the crackdown by the government against the terror sympathisers, Shah said that such people have been identified and removed from the administration.
"The Modi government has worked hard to end the entire chain glorifying terrorism. Zero tolerance policy has been adopted on terrorism, and the admirers of terrorism who were sitting in the administration have been identified and removed," he said.
Shah stressed that the Centre wants to make J-K the "number one state" in the whole country.
"We are not just people who make promises. We want to end corruption. We want to end terrorism. At the same time, we want to make Jammu and Kashmir the number one state in the whole country in terms of development," Shah said.
On the last day (October 5) of his crucial visit to the Union Territory, Shah is also slated to hold a number of crucial meetings including the ones regarding the security situation in the region. Shah will review the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir at a meeting that is slated to be held at Raj Bhavan in Srinagar.
LG Manoj Sinha, top officials of the Army, paramilitary forces, state police and civil administration will take part in this high-level meeting expected to begin at 10 am tomorrow.