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New Delhi, March 15, 2020
Union Home Minister Amit Shah today said that the Government did not contemplate any demographic change in Jammu & Kashmir and all speculation in this regard had no basis at all.
Interacting with a 24-member delegation from Jammu & Kashmir's Apni Party, led by Altaf Bukhari, he also said the Centre would take all steps for the overall development of the Union Territory.
He expressed confidence that there would be visible changes on the ground in the next few months.
Shah said the Centre would work with all sections of society to realize the hopes of statehood for Jammu and Kashmir at an early opportunity. The Prime Minister, in his address to the nation after the abrogation of Article 370, had stated this and even he himself in his speech in Lok Sabha on 6th August 2019 expressed the same. The Home Minister said this is also good for India’s interest, as the region is a border area.
Allaying the apprehensions of the delegation on restrictions, Shah said all decisions on relaxations are based on ground realities and not due to any pressure.
He referred to steps like the release of people from preventive detention, restoration of internet, relaxation in curfew and added that even political prisoners will be freed in times to come as the main objective of the government is that not a single person should die, be it a common Kashmiri or security personnel.
The Home Minister assured the delegation that Jammu and Kashmir will have a better domicile policy than other states in the country and said that a reasonable Economic Development Policy will be drafted soon after widespread consultation. He emphasised that there is no discrimination in the implementation of Central Laws in Jammu and Kashmir and interests of all sections will be taken care of.
Shah told the delegation that soon an Industrial Policy will be announced for rapid economic development and a Land Bank has already been created. For the past 70 years, J&K attracted Rs 13,000 crore and expressed hope that by 2024 three times more investment will come in the region as there is huge potential for the same and investors are also willing to come forward. This will also solve the problem of unemployment in the region, he added.
On the issues of reservation, the Home Minister said that a Commission will be set up soon and reiterated that no injustice will be done to Gujjars, nomads and other communities. On the issues concerning J&K Bank, he assured the delegation that he would personally look into it.
He assured the delegation that issues relating to general administration will be resolved on a fast-track basis. He will also ask the Lieutenant Governor to appoint a Senior Nodal Officer to meet the people twice in a week to address their grievances. He also asked the delegation to provide feedback to the nodal officers in the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Shah said his government is open to suggestions and feedback from all political parties and individuals for the overall development of Jammu and Kashmir.