‘Will win hearts of Valley’: Amit Shah gets RS okay for 2 key J&K proposals
Piloting two key proposals on Jammu and Kashmir through the Rajya Sabha, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday declared that the Centre would continue with a hardline approach to deal with separatists and terrorists in the state. But for everyone else in Kashmir, he said the government would adopt former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s policy of ‘Jamhooriyat, Insaniyat, Kashmiriyat’ (democracy, humanity and Kashmiriyat).
“We will win hearts of people in Kashmir… They will embrace us,” the home minister said, but underscored that the government’s commitment to the policy of ‘Jamhooriyat, Insaniyat, Kashmiriyat’ should not be taken to mean that the forces who want to divide India will be spared. “They will be given an appropriate response in their language,” the Home Minister told the Rajya Sabha.
Amit Shah was responding to a marathon debate on a resolution to extend President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir and a bill to extend quota benefits to people in three Jammu districts who suffer due to shelling along the international border in J&K.
The Lok Sabha had passed the two proposals last week but it was in the Rajya Sabha that it faced its most crucial test. The BJP-led ruling coalition is in a minority in the Rajya Sabha. The two were also Amit Shah’s first effort to get a law enacted after taking charge as home minister in PM Modi’s second term.
“Let the record show that the proposals have been passed unanimously,” Amit Shah asked .
That the two proposals would not face much of a hurdle became clear early in the evening when leaders of several opposition parties including PDP, Trinamool Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal – despite their sharp criticism of the BJP’s policy– made it clear that they would support the legislative proposals.
The home minister, who had been sitting through the entire debate, responded to the criticism hurled at him by his political rivals, one by one. Shah also countered critics who felt that the ruling coalition had been blaming the country’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru for just about everything.
Shah said it wasn’t his party’s intention to lower Nehru’s prestige. But history is cruel, he said, stressing that a country that doesn’t learn from its mistakes doesn’t end up too well. He also insisted that faulting Nehru’s decisions did not imply that he was questioning his intentions.
“We must learn from history. Congress must answer for the historical blunders done by them: Why did Nehru govt go to the UN despite Kashmir’s accession to India? Why did he agree for a plebiscite that is in any case out of question today?” he asked.
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