LS passes J&K Reservation, Reorganisation amendment bills

Jammu, Dec 6: Lok Sabha Wednesday passed Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization (Amendment) Bill, 2023 following an extensive, feisty reply by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah to a stimulating political debate, spanning two days.

Animated debate and subsequent reply saw the Union Home Minister explaining how two crucial Bills would undo injustice with the sections deprived for 70 years by giving them OBC status; give rights and representation to displaced Kashmiris, reservation to Kashmiri Pandits and expand and restructure J&K Legislative Assembly with the addition of seats and political reservation to SCs and STs.

   

He talked about two “Nehruvian blunders” which he alleged, made Kashmir suffer and left India to lose a chunk of territory of J&K (PoK). This even evoked a walkout by Congress members briefly.
Shah also announced the 100 percent implementation of the “zero terror plan” by 2026.

Replying to prickly remarks of opposition members in equal measure, the Union Home Minister asserted he never said that terrorism would end in J&K after the abrogation of Article 370. “I had said that it gave rise to separatist tendencies which led to terrorism. Article 370 was responsible for the death of 45,000 people in Jammu and Kashmir, which was abrogated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and with its removal, separatism has ended and terrorism has reduced significantly,” he said.

Quoting statistics, he said there was a 70 percent decline in terror incidents in J&K post Art 370 abrogation as the present approach was not just to end terrorism but dismantle its ecosystem as well. “A new wave of change, development was blowing across J&K but those who vacation in England won’t be able to gauge it,” he said, taking a dig at the opposition benches.

Maintaining it was heartening that a total of 29 speakers expressed their views but all agreed with the objectives of the bills, the Union Home Minister asserted that these bills would add another pearl to the chain of hundreds of progressive changes brought under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

BILLS TO PROVIDE RIGHTS, UNDO INJUSTICE

Explaining the rationale of two bills, Shah said that these bills were going to provide rights and justice to those who were treated unjustly, insulted and ignored for 70 years. “Those who consider it as a means to garner votes in politics by just using them as a vote bank and giving good speeches cannot understand its name. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is such a leader who himself has become the Prime Minister of the country after being born in a poor family and he knows the pain of the backward and the poor. When it comes to promoting such people, respect matters more than help,” he said.

The Union Home Minister said that the era of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir started after the 1980s and the people who had lived there for generations were completely displaced from there but no one cared about them. He said that those who had the responsibility to stop all this used to holiday in England. “If they had ended terrorism in the beginning without vote bank politics and by taking precise measures then there would have been no need to bring this bill today,” he said.

Shah added that the displaced people had to live as refugees in other parts of their own country and as per the current figures, 1,57,967 people from about 46,631 families were displaced in their own country. He said that this bill would give them rights and representation.

The Union Home Minister said that in 1947, 31,779 families were displaced from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to Jammu and Kashmir and out of these, 26,319 families started living in Jammu and Kashmir and 5,460 families started living in other parts of the country. He said that after the wars of 1965 and 1971, 10,065 families were displaced and overall, 41,844 families were displaced. He said that on August 5-6, 2019, Prime Minister Modi listened to the voices of these displaced people which were not paid attention in earlier decades and gave them their rights.

Shah said that judicial delimitation was part of the bill passed on August 5 and 6, 2019. He said that Delimitation Commission, Delimitation and Demarcated Assembly are the core of democracy and process of deciding the unit for electing people’s representatives.

EXPANDING, RESTRUCTURING J&K LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

“If the process of delimitation itself is not sacred, then democracy can never remain sacred, that is why a provision has been made in this bill that judicial delimitation will be done again. All groups of displaced people asked the Delimitation Commission to take cognizance of their representation and it is a matter of joy that the Commission has made a provision that 2 seats will be reserved for displaced Kashmiri people and 1 seat to be reserved for the people displaced from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The Modi government has given a legal framework to this system,” Shah explained the positives of J&K Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023.

Union Home Minister said that for the first time in the history of Delimitation Commission, 9 seats were reserved for Scheduled Tribes and seven seats were also reserved for Scheduled Castes.
“Earlier there were 37 seats in Jammu which have now become 43, there were 46 seats in Kashmir earlier which have now become 47 and 24 seats have been kept reserved for Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Earlier there were 107 seats in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, now there are 114 seats, earlier there were 2 nominated members in the Assembly, now there will be 5. All this happened because on August 5-6, 2019, a historic bill was approved by the cabinet under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and after its passage by the parliament, Article 370 was abolished,” he said.

Shah said that through these bills, in history the every oppressed, backward and displaced Kashmiri would remember efforts and blessings of the Lok Sabha that the Narendra Modi government “reserved 2 seats to provide justice to the brothers and sisters of their own country who were displaced since last 70 years.”

With regard to J&K Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023, he said that in place of derogatory words like weak for the deprived people, the constitutional word of backward class was kept for them.

HOW BILL WOULD PROVIDE JUSTICE TO KASHMIRI PANDITS

In response to the question raised by some opposition members about the legitimacy of giving reservation to the displaced people, Shah said that this was a bill to give rights and representation to the displaced people of Kashmir. “By giving reservation to Kashmiri Pandits, they will have a voice in the Kashmir Assembly and if a situation of displacement arises again, they will stop it.” He said that 5,675 Kashmiri displaced families were taking advantage of the employment package today. He said that there was a project to build 6,000 flats for such employees, which could not be completed. After the imposition of President’s rule, about 880 flats were built and the process of handing them over to the employees was underway.

The Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation said that when terrorism started in the valley, people were targeted and driven away from there. “From that time till now we have seen people shedding crocodile tears, but it is Prime Minister Narendra Modi who wiped off their tears with full empathy. We cannot imagine the pain of those people who abandoned their properties in Kashmir to save their lives and went to cities like Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Jammu or Delhi and lived in camps. When those people migrated from Kashmir, their property was confiscated and they were forced to sell their land at throwaway prices, in a way their property was snatched away and the administration remained silent and did not take any step,” he said.

Shah said that the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a new law to provide justice in this matter and by implementing it with retrospective effect, the people were given back their property.

WIND OF CHANGE IN J&K AFTER PM MODI TOOK OVER REINS

He said that the government led by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi had done the work of giving domicile certificates to about 1.6 lakh people. He said that after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, a cash assistance amount of Rs 3250 per person and a maximum of Rs 13,000 per family was given. He said that the government was providing 9 kilos of rice, 2 kilos of flour and 1 kilo of sugar per person every month. The Home Minister said that the government under the leadership of the Prime Minister had done the work of giving a lump sum amount of Rs 5.5 lakh to the people coming from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

To those who claimed that no work had been done in the last few years, the Union Home Minister mocked, “How will the people who are cut off from their roots know about this change” The change in Jammu and Kashmir cannot be experienced by holidaying in England.”

BACKGROUND; POSITIVES OF J&K RESERVATION (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2023

Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation said that a Backward Classes Commission was formed, which held several rounds of meetings with stakeholders with a participatory approach. The Commission met 198 delegations and 16,000 people in 750 days. The hearing was held in all the 20 districts and about 26,000 applications received by post were also taken into consideration. The suggestion of reforming the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act was a basic element among them.

He said that this Act existed earlier also, but it was for the weaker sections, whereas this time Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given them respect by giving them the constitutional name Other Backward Classes. Targetting Congress, Shah said it was a historical truth that the opposition party opposed the backward classes the most and worked to stop the backward classes.

He questioned the opposition as to why the Backward Classes Commission was not given constitutional status for seventy years, whereas this was the mandate of the Constitution, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave it constitutional status.

Shah said that the opposition leaders who talked about backward class in public meetings should tell the public as to who withheld the Kaka Kalelkar Commission report. After the Mandal Commission report came, it was not implemented until they were in power and even when it was implemented later, the leader of the opposition opposed it. He said that the opposition never provided reservation to backward classes under the Central Admission Scheme. This work was done only in the government led by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and now backward class children were given the opportunity to study in Sainik Schools, NEET and Kendriya Vidyalayas.

Shah said that earlier the idea of giving reservation to Economically Weaker Section (EWS) people was never been thought of. For the first time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a provision of 10 percent reservation for poor children of unreserved castes. The Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation also replied in detail to some legal and constitutional issues raised by the opposition.
He dismissed the opposition’s contention vis-à-vis amendment in law as the principal act passed on August 5, 2019 was under judicial scrutiny of the Supreme Court (SC). “SC never stayed the implementation of the Act,” Shah said.

DECLINE IN TERRORISM POST ART 370; WIND OF CHANGE IN J&K

Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation said that many members were concerned about terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and directly linked it to the abrogation of Article 370. Shah said he had earlier also said that at the root of terrorism was the feeling of separatism which had arisen due to Article 370.

“I had said that with the removal of Article 370, there will be a huge reduction in separatism and due to this terrorism will also reduce. Between 1994 and 2004, a total of 40,164 incidents of terrorism took place, between 2004 to 2014 7,217 took place whereas in the 9 years of the Narendra Modi government, these incidents came down to only 2,197 with a 70 percent reduction. 65 percent of these incidents occurred due to police action. In the 9 years of the Narendra Modi government, the number of deaths of civilians has decreased by 72 percent and the number of deaths of security forces by 59 percent,” he said.
Shah said that in 2010, there were 2,654 stone pelting incidents in Jammu and Kashmir while in 2023 there was not a single stone pelting incident. He said that in 2010 there were 132 organized strikes, while in 2023 there was not even a single strike. In 2010, 112 civilians died in stone pelting, whereas in 2023, not even one person died. In 2010, 6,235 security personnel were injured in stone pelting, not even a single one was injured in 2023.

The Union Home Minister said that in this very House, opposition broke all decorum and said that abrogation of Article 370 would lead to bloodshed, but the Narendra Modi government made such arrangements that no one had the courage to throw even a single pebble. He said that in 2010 there were 70 incidents of ceasefire violations but in 2023 there were only 2 such incidents. There were 489 incidents of infiltration
in 2010, only 48 incidents took place in 2023.

MHA REVIEWS J&K SECURITY SITUATION EVERY MONTH

Shah said that the central government made tireless efforts under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure the security of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and improve their quality of life.
He said, “The Ministry of Home Affairs reviews the security situation in Kashmir every month and every three months I, myself, visit there and review the security situation. The Modi government has made a Zero Terror Plan which has been implemented for the last 3 years and by 2026 the Zero Terror Plan will be completely implemented.”

“Along with this, a complete area domination plan has been made which will be completed by 2026. Earlier only terrorists were killed, but now we have destroyed its entire ecosystem. Along with this, NIA has registered 32 cases under terror finance and these cases were registered because money was coming from Pakistan and the Narendra Modi government will not let this happen,” he said.

As per statistics quoted by the Union Home Minister, a total of 83 cases of terror funding have been registered, including 32 cases by NIA and 51 cases by SIA. Around 229 arrests have been made and the process is underway in the court to seize and auction 57 properties worth Rs 150 crore.

134 bank accounts were sealed in which Rs 122 crore were seized and another Rs 5.5 crore in cash was seized.

CINEMA HALLS REOPENED AFTER 30 YEARS IN J&K

He said that after the abolition of Article 370, cinema halls opened for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir in 2021 after 30 years. Shah said that a multiplex was built in Srinagar, 4 new theatres opened in Pulwama, Shopian, Baramulla and Handwara and shooting of more than 100 films started. Bank loan proposals for about 100 cinema halls were under consideration by the banks, he said.

ART 370 CONSUMED 45,000 LIVES

Shah said that Article 370 was responsible for the death of 45,000 people in Jammu and Kashmir, which was abrogated by Prime Minister Modi. He said that in this country there should be only one symbol, only one constitution and only one head and for this purpose Shyama Prasad Mukherjee ji had given his life and this was the wish of the country.

TEMPORARY PROVISION REMOVED BY PM MODI

The Union Home Minister said that Article 370 was a temporary provision which should have been abolished long ago, but no one dared. He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi showed courage and abolished Article 370. Shah said that in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution that Article 370 was temporary, Prime Minister Modi abolished it on August 5.
He said that for the first time Kashmiri, Dogri, Hindi, English and Urdu were made the official languages of the state. He said that the Right to Education Act, Land Acquisition and Compensation Act, Forest Rights Act, SC-ST Prevention Atrocities Act, WhistleBlower Protection Act, Juvenile Justice Act and Minority Commission Act, 1992 were put on hold but now they were being implemented.

“And now the duration of the assembly is also 5 years. Under the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign, there was not a single house in the valley where the Tricolour was not hoisted, this change has taken place there. Today every festival is celebrated with joy and happiness at Lal Chowk and people from every community participate in it. Earlier our leaders like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Murli Manohar Joshi had to struggle to unfurl it at the Lal Chowk. But now the spirit of the Constitution has now been taken to the grassroots level there,” he said.

CHANGING J&K

Shah said that before the abrogation of Article 370, GSDP was Rs 1 lakh crore, which has doubled in just 5 years to Rs 2,27,927 crore today.

“Earlier there were 94 degree colleges, today there are 147, Jammu and Kashmir became the first state to have IIT, IIM and 2 AIIMS. In the last 70 years there were only 4 medical colleges, now 7 new medical colleges have been built. 15 new nursing colleges have been established, earlier the medical seats were 500, now after the abolition of Article 370, 800 more seats have been added. PG seats were 367, and the Modi government has done the work of adding 397 new seats,” he said.

About 6 lakh people used to get a mid-day meal, now 9,13,000 people get a mid-day meal. The average of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana was 158 kilometers, now it has become 8,068 kilometers per year. 24,000 houses were given in 70 years, in the last 5 years the Modi government had given houses to 1,45,000 people. In 70 years, the earlier governments provided drinking water to 7,82,000 people, now the Modi government provided drinking water to 13 lakh families.

The Union Home Minister said that the Modi government did the work of bringing down the infant mortality rate from 22 to 14.30, earlier there were 47 Jan Aushadhi centres, now people are getting cheap medicines at 227 Jan Aushadhi centres. Youth participation in sports has increased from 2 lakh to 60 lakh. Pension beneficiaries have increased from 6 lakh to 10 lakh.

Shah said that all these changes were made only by the Narendra Modi government after the removal of Article 370. He added that after the removal of Article 370, terrorism reduced in Kashmir due to which a good atmosphere was created there and huge development was taking place there.

KASHMIR SUFFERED DUE TO TWO ‘NEHRUVIAN BLUNDERS’

Shah said that Jammu and Kashmir had to suffer for years due to two big mistakes made by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru during his tenure as Prime Minister.

He said, “Pandit Nehru’s first mistake was that when our army was winning, a ceasefire was done as soon as it reached Punjab and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir was born. If the ceasefire had been delayed by 3 days,
Pakistan-occupied Kashmir would have been a part of India today.”

He said, “The second big mistake was when they took our issue to the United Nations. Even when the matter was sent to the UN, the decision was taken very hastily. This matter should not have been taken to the
UN at all and even if it was taken, the matter should have been taken under Article 51 of the UN Charter instead of Article 35. Despite advice given by several people on record, the matter was taken to the UN under Article 35.”

Amid objections by the Congress, Shah said former Prime Minister late Jawaharlal Nehru, himself, had written that it was his mistake. “But it was not just a mistake but a blunder. The country lost a big chunk of land; it was a blunder,” he said.

IMPROVEMENT IN POWER SCENARIO IN J&K

The Home Minister said that in 2014 Prime Minister Narendra Modi started 63 projects at a cost of Rs 80,000 crore for the development of Jammu and Kashmir including projects related to electricity, infrastructure, irrigation, education and medical facilities.

Of these, 9 projects costing about Rs 21,000 crore were in Ladakh. “32 projects of Jammu and Kashmir, worth Rs 58,477 crore have almost been completed and out of Rs 58,000, the expenditure of Rs 45,800 crore has been utilised. Investments have been made in hydro projects in the last 10 years like 642 MW Kiru Hydro Project worth Rs 4,987 crore with a target of 5000 MW, 540 MW Kwar Hydro Project at a cost of Rs 5000 crore, 850 MW Ratle Highway Project at a cost of Rs 5,200 crore, 1000 MW Sopak Dal Hydro Project at a cost of Rs 8,112 crore, 1856 MW Sawalkot Hydro Project at a cost of Rs 2300 crore and Shahpur Kandi Dam Irrigation and Power Project at a cost Rs 2793 crore,” he said.

“For the first time, a project has been started there to obtain 1600 MW solar energy, 38 group stations have been constructed, 467 kilometers of new transmission lines have been laid, 266 Up stations have been built and work of securing the 11000 circuit kilometers of ST and IT lines have been done by the government led by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Shah added.

IRRIGATION, FLOOD MANAGEMENT; SURGE IN DEVELOPMENT

Union Home and Minister of Cooperation said that as far as irrigation was concerned, the Ravi Canal Project worth Rs 62 crore had been completed. “The work of Tassar Chalan Teen Tal Irrigation Project at a cost of Rs 45 crore has been completed. The Phase-III of worth Rs 399 crore for flood management of Jhelum and tributaries has been completed. The Phase-II of worth Rs 1632 crore is going on and after the completion of Phase-I, the capacity of transmission has increased from 31885 to 41000,” he said.

Shah said that Shahpur Kandi Dam project had also been completed. The major canals of Jammu province had not been desilted for many decades. Within 59 days of imposition of President’s rule, the desilting work was completed after 70 years.

“The rail network has expanded. The Rs 8.45 crore Qazigund Banihal tunnel has been constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 3127 crore. About 8000 kilometers of new roads have been built in rural areas,” he said.

Shah said that 10 crafts of Jammu and Kashmir got GI tag, Gucchi mushroom of Doda got GI tag, Basmati rice of R S Pura was issued organic certificate and Rs 5013 crore scheme for comprehensive agricultural development was completed.

The Home Minister said, “Across the country, the government bears the entire cost of treatment up to Rs 5 lakh for poor people specifically, but in Jammu and Kashmir, the government bears the treatment cost of all the people up to Rs 5 lakh.”

TOURISM BOOM IN J&K

He said that the government handled Jammu and Kashmir with full sensitivity. Before the present government came to power, the last available figure of tourists was around 14 lakhs, whereas in the year 2022-23, 2 crore tourists reached Jammu and Kashmir and, this year by June 2023 the figure of one crore had already been touched. He expressed confidence that the record of arrival of 2 crore tourists under the government led by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be broken by this December.

Shah said that Jammu and Kashmir had become a destination whose environment and nature has a global and modern outlook. “Home stay policy has been framed in the state, film policy has been framed, work has also been done to frame a policy for house boats, Jammu Ropeway Project has been completed with a cost of Rs 75 crore and industrial policy has also been framed,” he said.

Shah said, “The Bill we have tabled will give rights to those people who were deprived for years, who were deprived of rights, who lost their country, state, house, land and their property in their own country and became destitute. They will honour the backward classes of people with the constitutional term Other Backward Classes. I, therefore, request the House to cooperate for passing the Bill as the purpose of these Bills is very sacred.”

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