Decision to schedule elections in J&K ECI’s prerogative: MHA

‘Substantial Decline in terrorist attacks'.
Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai.
Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai. File/ANI

Srinagar, July 19: The decision to schedule elections in Jammu and Kashmir is the prerogative of Election Commission of India, Ministry Of Home Affairs, Government of India said on Tuesday.

In a written reply to a question about the time-frame by which the situation in Kashmir would be brought to normal for starting democratic process in the Valley, Minister of State in MHA, Nityanand Rai said the Government had constituted a delimitation Commission, which has notified Orders on 14th March, 2022 and 5th May, 2022 on delimitation of Parliamentary and Legislative Assembly Constituencies of the Jammu and Kashmir, news agency GNS reported.

“Thereafter, the Election Commission of India has initiated revision of electoral rolls of voters of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The decision to schedule elections is the prerogative of the Election Commission of India,” he said in reply to the question by parliamentarian A. Ganeshamurthi in the ongoing Monsoon Session of the Parliament.

Rai said the government has a policy of zero tolerance against terrorism and the security situation has “improved significantly” in J&K.

“There has been substantial decline in terrorist attacks from 417 in 2018 to 229 in 2021,” he said in the reply.

The Government, he said, has taken various measures to normalize the situation in the Kashmir valley. “These include a robust security and intelligence grid, proactive operations against terrorists, intensified night patrolling and checking at Nakas, security arrangements through appropriate deployment and high level of alertness maintained by the security forces.”

Rai said the Government has taken several steps for all round development of Jammu and Kashmir including implementation of PMDP, 2015, Flagship programmes, establishment of IIT & IIM, two new AIIMS and fast tracking of infrastructure projects in roads, power etc. Besides, he said, a new Central Scheme is being implemented for industrial development of J&K with an outlay of Rs. 28,400 Crores which would provide employment to 4.5 Lakhs persons.

He said there were 229 terrorist related incidents in J&K last year in which 42 security personnel and 41 civilians were killed. A total of 117 security personnel and 75 civilians were injured during 2021, he said. In 2020, he said there were 244 terrorist related incidents in J&K in which 62 security personnel and 37 civilians were killed. 106 security personnel and 112 civilians were injured in the year, he added.

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