Going full throttle against carriers, promoters of drugs in J&K: LG Sinha

‘Addicted youth victims of drug abuse; won't allow them to go astray’
J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha during a press conference. [File]
J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha during a press conference. [File] Mir Imran for Greater Kashmir

Jammu: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Wednesday stated that his administration, while treating the addicted youth as the victims of drug abuse, was going full throttle against the “drug-carriers and promoters” to foil this “conspiracy to ruin J&K and its youth.”

Asserting that there was decline in terrorism and target killings, he stated that he did not foresee any security threat in J&K, which was fully geared up to host the prestigious G20 meeting in Srinagar.

The Lieutenant Governor reiterated his commitment for fool-proof security of Kashmiri Pandit migrant (PM package) (and other) employees working in Kashmir. He said that he was quoted out of context by the media vis-a-vis protesting employees in Jammu seeking their relocation on the pretext of security threat. Reference was to quote used by media “No salary while sitting at home.”

He made these remarks in an exclusive interview with a national news channel ‘Zee News’ Wednesday evening.

While responding to a question pertaining to the growing threat of narco-terrorism, which has emerged as a major security concern in J&K, LG Sinha said, "We don't consider the youth addicted to drugs as culprits. But we are going all out against the carriers who induce them to drugs, deliver them and make them addicts,” said LG Sinha.

NO BAN ON POLITICAL, SOCIAL ACTIVITIES; NO ILLEGAL EVICTIONS

When asked about allegations of opposition vis-à-vis government “encroaching upon political and individual freedom”, the Lieutenant Governor stated that there was full freedom in J&K to pursue political and social activities.

“I am reiterating with full responsibility that none is disallowed to pursue political and social activities in J&K. People (including political representatives) are freely holding rallies and meetings. Had there been any ban in vogue such activities could not have been possible. J&K witnessed an overwhelming public participation in elections (Panchayats and ULBs). How could it be possible if there were any restrictions in place? At the same time, I'm categorically saying that no political or social worker is under detention at present," he said.

 “With regard to evictions, we have followed due process of law. There is a committee which makes a regular assessment of security threat perception vis-a-vis all protected persons. On the basis of threat perception, houses were allotted to the protected persons. There was a directive from the High Court and accordingly following due procedure of law and fresh assessment by the Committee, the concerned persons were evicted," the Lieutenant Governor said. 

Obliquely referring to the PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, he stated, "The person, you are referring to, was given option of another house as per law of land and the directive of the High Court in consonance with the security threat assessment. This happens across the country. Same procedure is applied to former Prime Ministers and the Presidents. So, none is discriminated against in J&K on this account. But if the person refused that option, what could the government do? That was the concerned person's choice."  

THOSE WITH EXPIRED LEASES HAVE LIBERTY TO PARTICIPATE IN AUCTION

When asked about uproar in case of recently modified Land (Grant) rules, the Lieutenant Governor reiterated that the regressive nature of earlier rules necessitated the change.

“There was no system in place. We took steps strictly according to the direction of the Supreme Court of India for auction of government land worth crores still under the illegal occupation of those whose lease had already expired. They were occupying invaluable government lands for just peanuts. We brought it here, which is the law across the country. Even those individuals, whose lease has expired, can participate in the auction. But the law of land will prevail," he said.

LG Sinha said that his administration had done a revolutionary job in case of digitisation of records. He informed that 32 lakh land passbooks were generated in three languages – Hindi, Urdu and English and out of them, 22 lakh were already distributed and rest too would be distributed very soon, he added.

DELIMITATION OVER, ECI WILL TAKE CALL ON ELECTIONS

In response to a question pertaining to the promise of holding elections after delimitation and then restoration of statehood, LG Sinha remarked that the Delimitation Commission – a constitutional body - increased a total of seven seats in J&K.

“Seats were increased in both Kashmir and Jammu divisions. In all, seven seats were increased by the Commission, headed by a retired Judge of the Supreme Court, taking all desired factors into consideration and using its wisdom. Hence we should not make any comment questioning the entire exercise or wisdom of the Commission behind it. We should trust our constitutional institutions. That exercise is over satisfactorily. The Union Home Minister on the floor of Parliament had made a promise, which I would like to reiterate - Delimitation first followed by election and then restoration of statehood at an appropriate time - which you forgot to mention," he said.

“Elections will certainly happen as India is a democracy and is governed by democratic norms (including elections).  J&K is no exception to this rule or norm. However, elections are to be announced by another constitutional body i.e., the Election Commission of India (ECI). It is fulfilling its responsibilities. Electoral roll revision was imperative for this exercise. Now when elections are to be announced, the ECI will take a call,” LG sinha added.

ON INVESTMENTS TO RESOLVE PROBLEM OF UNEMPLOYMENT

Amid growing threat of narco-terrorism in the Union Territory, to some extent unemployment is a reason behind increasing number of J&K youth taking to drugs (and terrorism also); so what has happened to the promises of “Nasha Mukt Aur Rozgar Yukt J&K”, following abrogation of Article 370 what has government done to tackle these challenges and how much investment has it (J&K government) managed to attract in the past three years?

Responding to these queries, LG said that he was not fully in agreement with the statement relating unemployment to the terrorism.

“Unemployment has no relation to the terrorism. Poverty and unemployment are there in almost equal proportion in some parts of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh (when compared to J&K). However, my area of responsibility is J&K so I'll focus on that only. Situation would improve after abrogation of Article 370, this was promised.  This is heartening to note that it has happened and the investors are evincing keen interest in J&K," he said.

Corroborating his assertion with a slew of statistics, he said that on June 24, 2022, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited J&K and performed a ground-breaking ceremony of investment projects worth Rs 38,080 crore in Palli Panchayat of Samba district. "I presume that investments, not less than Rs 60,000 to Rs 65,000 crore will come to J&K. This is my (conservative) estimate," he said.

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