SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has said that he was taking action merely under constitution by terminating employees promoting “secessionism” and “terrorism” in the union territory and that there was no prejudice involved in the act, a media report said today.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration last week terminated the services of 11 government employees, including sons of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, for allegedly working for militant groups.
In an interview with CNN-News18, Sinha said that this was not the first time that any action was taken against such employees in J&K. “…I think the provision earlier too was Article 126 from the Jammu and Kashmir constitution. Under the Article, action was being taken against such employees who were in any way involved in secessionism, and/or aiding terrorism, and working as an insider threat to the state. Back in 2016, action was taken against such employees according to the J&K constitution,” he said, as per the report.
Calling it a serious threat, Sinha said that they were getting constant information on this. “Hence, by invoking the provision of Article 3112(c) of the Constitution of India, it was found that all these officers have displayed conduct, character and intent amounting to being an insider threat to the state,” he said, adding that the action was not based on any prejudice.
When asked about the statement of former J&K chief minister and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti in which she had alleged whether the sons of Salahuddin were being punished for the mistakes of their father, Sinha said: “I don’t care about who is whose son. What matters to me is who is doing what and how is their behaviour. Taking action according to the Constitution is my duty.”
Sinha, during the interview, assured that no innocent person would be harmed. “I want to assure the people of Jammu and Kashmir as well as the people of the country that no action will be taken against innocents. No action is based on prejudice. But if the state faces any threat from a person and has proper information to back that up, then action according to the Constitution will be taken against those people who are involved in terror funding, secessionism and terrorism,” he said.
Referring to the DDC elections held last year, Sinha said that the youth of Kashmir thinks differently. “Some time back, DDC (District Development Council) elections happened in the state. I can tell you with confidence that after a long time elections happened here without any bloodshed. There are places where a large number of voters turned out. The youth and women took part aggressively. Not just the rest of India and the Prime Minister but the people of Jammu and Kashmir have also shown their faith in democracy. I think the people will take part in the assembly elections as well and form a government in the state,” he said.
Sinha said that things have changed drastically on the security front in the past one-and-a-half-years. “Security forces have got an upper hand and if we consider the data then infiltration has also decreased. Recruitment in terror groups has decreased and incidents of violence have also come down. Incidents of stone-pelting are now history, and the security forces have neutralised quite a few terrorists in the past 15-20 days. The people of Jammu and Kashmir want peace and development, but there are elements that want to stall the process,” he said.
Sinha said that the youth in Jammu and Kashmir were leaning towards peace and development, "but there were some who are lost". “They are looking for opportunities. Things that happened in recent days are creating hope among the youth. But there are still some who are lost. However, I want to tell them that there are a lot of opportunities in the state now. Through Mission Youth, we have created a lot of opportunities in Jammu and Kashmir. I want to invite all the youth to come and be a part of the development and not fall prey to those who are trying to divide the state. They have destroyed so many families,” he said.
Listing his achievements, Sinha said that a three-tier Panchayati Raj system has been in place for the first time in the UT. “Funds, functions, and functionaries, all three things have been transferred. The budget of the districts has been disbursed after consultation. The funds have been doubled this time to more than Rs 12,600 crore. This also shows the faith of the Prime Minister in democracy,” he said.
Sinha said the Banihal tunnel has also been opened. “Oxygen generation capacity has been increased to 60,000 LPM (litres per minute) from 15,000 LPM, and it will be 90,000 LPM by the end of July. In every panchayat, there is a functional Covid-care facility. More than 75% of the districts have fully vaccinated the population above 45. In two days, every person in the UT will be fully vaccinated. We have done double the vaccination in the 18 to 44 age group as compared to the national average. Be it Covid-19 management or development, we are doing every work properly.”
He said that in the coming two years, more than Rs 50,000 crore worth of investment will be done in J&K. “It will create more jobs. We want our Jammu and Kashmir to be a part of the growth story as well. We are working on a big thing. The plan is to have a big, coordinated development project of the Dal Lake, Jhelum and Wular. The Metro rail project in Jammu and Srinagar is expected to get sanctioned by the government in the coming three to four months so that the people of Jammu and Kashmir get this facility. We are working in this direction. For Smart City, the command centres have already been completed. Earlier, we used to come from Srinagar to Jammu with more than 200 trucks for carrying government files. But this time around no trucks have taken any files from Jammu to Srinagar. Everything has been digitised and we have taken a big step towards e-governance and transparency,” he added.