J&K post Article 370 repeal | Govt doesn’t engage terrorists in talks to buy peace: LG Sinha

Jammu and Kashmir’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha [File]
Jammu and Kashmir’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha [File] @OfficeOfLGJandK/Twitter

Jammu: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said that there was a perceptible change in the policy of the government following the abrogation of Article 370 as the present dispensation does not “engage in talks with the terrorist leaders to buy peace”.

In an interview with a private news channel News 18 India, Sinha said that the security scenario had registered a marked improvement in J&K in the last two to three years after the abrogation of Article 370.

“People in J&K have realised that peace is imperative for development. They want development and we have convinced them that there cannot be development without peace anywhere across the world. On this account, we have deviated from the policy being pursued by the earlier regimes. We believe that the culpability lies more with those who run and promote the ecosystem of terror rather than those who hold the guns. There is a marked difference between the present and the past practices. Earlier, no effort would be taken to demolish or even touch the terror ecosystem. In the past, peace would be bought by engaging terrorist leaders or their patronisers in dialogue. But now the perspective of the Government of India is completely different and ditto for the J&K administration. We don’t believe in buying peace. We want to establish permanent peace here and we are working in this direction,” he said.

When asked, amid claims by the J&K government about an improved security scenario whether the recent killings of non-local labourers and the members of the minority community rang alarm bells in the security setup, LG Sinha said, “Yes, this is true that some stray incidents of killings of innocent people in the recent past have taken place. Exploiting these incidents, efforts were made by some people to create a negative narrative about the government across the country. But I want to bring it to the fore that our security forces have been able to attain a clear edge (in operations against terrorism). They have an upper hand (over adversaries and subversive elements). However, our neighbour is perturbed to see how J&K is marching forward towards a new era of economic development. It is worried as to how J&K is leading the chart in GST revenue and excise tax collection. The envious rise in tourist footfall in J&K is also unnerving it (Pakistan). So at its behest, some unfortunate incidents (killings) did take place.”

The LG said: “As far as the security scenario is concerned, being at the helm of affairs, I want to present a few facts to the fore with a great sense of responsibility. Some innocent people have been killed. For us, even a single such incident is undoubtedly very unfortunate. Because after the abrogation of Article 370 or should I say under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the people’s expectations have risen sky high. They don’t want even a single such incident to happen here. This is the yardstick. They (people) have fixed it for us and they measure our every act and every incident under our regime on that yardstick. This also speaks about the credibility of our government and the trust people have reposed in us.”

He said, “Otherwise, one could compare the statistics vis-à-vis the killing of innocent people in the last 20 years and also the number of terrorists eliminated. A total of 130 terrorists including 37 foreign terrorists have been killed since January this year in anti-terror operations. This number is the highest ever if you compare it with the statistics in the past. Stone-pelting, hartals, bandh calls in Kashmir have become a thing of the past. If someone is imprisoned or (a terrorist) gets killed, no bandh is observed anywhere in Srinagar or any other part of Kashmir or Jammu. This is a big change that has occurred in J&K after the abrogation of Article 370 under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Our administration, entire security setup and our security forces are committed to restoring complete peace in J&K. We will take rest only after fully eradicating the menace of terrorism. We will erase it, even if a trace of fear of terrorism or terrorists is there lurking in the minds of people. This is our commitment,” he said.

ON HYBRID TERRORISTS

Regarding the “hybrid terrorists”, he said that this new terminology came into being after the terrorists tried to lure and mislead teenagers out of frustration as their (terrorists’) “shelf life” had decreased considerably due to the onslaught of the security forces launched against them.

“There was a time when the terrorists would take pride in declaring their association with the terror organisations. But now, given the security forces’ aggressive stance, they are scared to do so. They know that if they do so, they will not survive for long and hence they are misleading adolescent children and making them ‘hybrid terrorists’. But we have started a campaign to de-radicalise the youth in Kashmir. Under the Mission Youth, we are trying to wean away the youth from such activities and making attempts to provide maximum employment opportunities to them,” LG Sinha said.

ON INDUSTRIAL INVESTMENT

About the scepticism being expressed by political detractors vis-à-vis the government’s claims about industrial investments in J&K, Sinha said, “Since independence, J&K had received a private industrial investment worth Rs 14,000 crore only till 2021. But we have introduced a new industrial scheme with the assistance of the Government of India. I am grateful to the Union Home Minister that he evinced keen interest and helped us in bringing this scheme for the growth of J&K. At present, we have received investment proposals of Rs 56,00 crore of which the proposals worth Rs 38,080 crore have already been approved. On April 24, 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to Palli village performed a ground-breaking ceremony vis-à-vis investment proposals of Rs 38,080 crore,” he said.

Regarding the foreign investment, the LG said that he too had participated in the Dubai Expo.

“We have allotted land to Emaar Group. The group is developing a 5 lakh sq ft shopping mall in Srinagar. Lulu Group has pledged millions to develop a food processing unit in J&K. Dubai Port giant DP World is building an inland port in J&K,” he said.

Sinha said that private hospitals and medical colleges were also on the anvil in the new J&K.

He also mentioned the increase in district capex while enlisting changes after August 5, 2019, in J&K.

“When I came here, the District capex budget was just Rs 5316 crore. This has now reached Rs 22,000 crore aimed at the massive development of J&K,” he said.

ON ‘HAR GHAR TIRANGA’ CAMPAIGN IN KASHMIR

He said that few people were averse to ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign but none was bothered about them.

“People in J&K too would celebrate ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ festival with enthusiasm as last year when the tricolour was hoisted in every Panchayat and school of J&K,” he said.

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