Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Monday said Kashmir and Jammu were the “two eyes” of J&K, and for the overall progress both had to work together without one being favoured over the other.
“We have to work towards the development of these two regions equally, and it’s only when both work together that they can take the J&K forward,” LG Sinha said in an interview to The Indian Express.
“I think if the administration’s intentions are clear and the government is not favouring one over the other then there will be no opposition,” he said.
LG Sinha, who took oath on August 7 this year, and has visited all 10 districts in Kashmir, and six (of 10) in Jammu, over the last four months, said there were “some people” who had “vested interests” in differentiating Kashmir from Jammu on the lines of “region, religion, caste, colour or area”.
He sought to allay the fears expressed by mainstream political leaders that assembly polls would be put on the backburner, particularly after the ongoing District Development Council (DDC) polls.
“Assembly function is different from that of DDC or the parliament. So, where is the contradiction?” he said. “There is no reason to fear.”
LG Sinha said: “The Prime Minister has talked about Assembly elections from the ramparts of the Red Fort on August 15; the Home Minister has said it on the floor of the Parliament saying nobody has an objection to this and the Prime Minister has said on August 15 that when the Delimitation Commission completes its work, assembly polls will be held.”
On the fears of a “demographic change” in Kashmir, especially after the repeal of certain land laws and amendments in some others, the Lt Governor said, “In J&K, 90 percent of land is agricultural. Nobody from outside J&K can buy agricultural land. Even within J&K, only agriculturists can buy such land.”
He said that while amendment to certain laws had enabled outsiders to buy land in J&K, there was no treatment for “imagined” fears.
“Give me a single example of any outsider having bought land here. Since August 5, 2019, tell me a single name. I challenge anyone to name one person from outside who has bought land here. This is baseless,” LG Sinha said.
About Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s tweet referring to mainstream political parties — which formed an alliance ahead of the DDC polls — as “Gupkar Gang”, Sinha said: “As a leader of a party, he has every right to issue a political statement. If leaders in a political party can give certain statements, then others also have the freedom to speak their mind. I hold a constitutional post and I am not concerned about it.”