Visit Kashmir with families for 3 days to understand situation: Shah
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has called upon the people to visit Kashmir with their family members for three days to see for themselves how peaceful it is saying the Valley was completely free of curfew and there is peace in the entire region with 99.7 percent students appearing in Secondary and High Secondary class examinations.
Speaking at the award giving function of a national newspaper in Mumbai last night, Shah while responding to questions from the audience on newly created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir especially the prevailing situation in the Valley, called upon them to visit Kashmir with their families for three days and see for themselves how peaceful it is.
He also urged the India Inc to visit the Kashmir valley to understand real situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
“There is peace in the entire region. Kashmir is totally free of curfew,” Shah told the audience.
He said 99.7 percent students appeared for the examinations for the Secondary and Higher Secondary classes in the Valley recently. The exams were conducted completely peacefully and there was no untoward incident, he added.
“Some people had claimed there would be rivers of blood. On the contrary, not a single person has been killed in police firing during last four months (when the Central Government had scrapped special Constitutional provisions of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the erstwhile State into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh),” the Home Minister said.
A Congress leader had claimed that there would be bloodshed in Kashmir following abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
On the issue of several political leaders from the Opposition including three former Chief Ministers-Dr Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti being kept in the make shift jails for the past about four months now, Shah recalled that the Congress kept Sheikh Abdullah (the National Conference patriarch and father of Farooq and Omar Abdullahs) in jail for 11 years.
“This has been just four months (since Abdullahs and Mehbooba Mufti were in the temporary jails),” Shah remarked.
He revealed that there were 630 people in jails in Kashmir and, out of them, less than 112 were political prisoners.
On internet curbs in Jammu and Kashmir which have been in place since August 5 when the special Constitutional provisions of the erstwhile State were abrogated, the Home Minister said it was for the local authorities to decide on when to lift the internet restrictions in the Valley.
“Our priority is law and order,” he asserted and said the local authorities have the right to decide on internet curbs.
Shah reiterated that Pakistan is located next door and can take advantage of the lifting of curbs by using voice call facilities.
While broadband services were functional in Jammu region, mobile internet was working in Leh district in the Union Territory of Ladakh. In Kashmir valley, both broadband services (except some emergency installations) and mobile internet were banned since August 5 while mobile internet also remained suspended in Jammu region since then.
Responding to concerns within business and industry about an atmosphere of fear unleashed by tax authorities, Shah said, “No one needs to fear anything”, and that most of the steps the Government had undertaken to clean up the system were over.
While acknowledging the economic slowdown, he said