The Lok Sabha on Friday approved extension of President’s rule by six months in Jammu and Kashmir after Home Minister Amit Shah made it clear that the government was prepared to hold Assembly elections in the state by the year-end and launched a stinging attack on Congress by raking up issues of Partition, ceasefire, PoK and handling of the state by successive governments.
He blamed then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru for giving a portion of Kashmir to Pakistan without taking Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel into confidence.
Replying to a four-hour combined debate on statutory resolution extending President’s Rule by six months and a Bill for reservation to residents of international border in Jammu on the lines of those living along the Line of Control (LoC), Shah adopted aggression to counter criticism by Congress and other Opposition members on the situation in the state.
He asserted that the government was determined to root out terrorism and those wanting secession of the valley from the country will live with more fear in their hearts in the coming days.
Shah also asserted that Article 370 that gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir was a “temporary” provision in the Constitution.
The minister, who was executing his first legislative business in the House, said the government was committed to protecting the culture of Kashmir and there will be no dilution of “Kashmiriyat”.
The resolution, which replaces an ordinance, was passed by the House with a voice vote after a lively discussion that saw some opposition members slamming the government for not holding assembly polls in the state with the Lok Sabha elections.
Congress leader Manish Tewari said BJP’s alliance with PDP was a factor that had led to a deterioration of the situation in the state.
BJP members strongly countered the arguments and accused Congress of pursuing policies that had created problems in the state.
Shah, who is also BJP President, gave a point by point reply to the issues raised by Opposition members and also referred to party’s ideology saying it has solutions to the problems of the state. It was his first major speech in Lok Sabha since assuming charge as Home Minister.
He said terrorism was sponsored by Pakistan and Modi government had taken the battle to the terror bases across the border by launching a surgical strike in 2016 and an aerial strike earlier this year in Balakot following Pulwama terror attack.
“Narendra Modi did the air strike and hit the terrorists in their house…Narendra Modi government has zero tolerance policy towards terrorism and it will continue. We are determined to root it out and we will do it with the cooperation of people,” Shah said.
He said the world accepts that India’s approach to security has changed.
Shah said that the matters concerning all princely states were handled by the first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Kashmir was handled by Nehru and that led to problems in the state.
He said when Indian forces were driving out Pakistani invaders in 1947-48 war but a ceasefire was called.
“Who called for ceasefire back then? It was Jawaharlal Nehru who did it and gave that portion (PoK) to Pakistan. You say we don’t take people into confidence, but Nehru ji did it without taking the then Home Minister into confidence.
He rejected Opposition charge that the government was trampling democracy in the state. “Before this time, till now 132 times, Article 356 has been imposed (President’s rule), out of which 93 times Congress has done it. Now, these people will teach us democracy?”, he said.