New Delhi: Lok Sabha on Friday gave go-head to resolution seeking extension of President''s rule in Jammu and Kashmir for another six months and passed the Bill to expand reservation benefits in the state bringing people living on the International Border (IB) under its fold as Union Home Minister Amit Shah assured that the government was in firm control of the law and order situation and was committed to hold elections in the state as and when the poll panel recommends it.
Driving his first legislation in the Lok Sabha seeking reservation benefits for people living on the IB, which was taken up in the House along with the statutory resolution on the extension of President''s Rule in the state, Shah tore into the Congress governments of the past for the erosion of people''s trust in Jammu and Kashmir as successive elections in the state till the 1970s were "reduced to a joke". He also dismissed objections to the central rule claiming that Article 356 (President''s rule) has been imposed 132 times in the past and 93 times it was done so by the Congress governments.
Earlier, while introducing the resolution, Shah had said that the elections cannot be held before the end of the year because of various reasons, including as the month of Ramzan, the upcoming Amarnath Yatra till August 15 and the Bakarwal community that comprises 10 per cent of the population stays on the hilltops till October.
He said that the nation was paying the price of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru''s historic blunder in Jammu and Kashmir. He was responding to accusations that mistrust was growing among the people of Jammu and Kashmir under the Modi rule. Shah said that the Modi government followed zero tolerance policy against terrorism and said it was firmly in control of the law and order situation. The Home Minister backed his point citing holding of the recent Panchayat elections in the state and claimed that 40,000 elected representatives were working for the people in villages. Shah said both the Panchayat elections and the Lok Sabha elections in the state were held by not spilling even a drop of blood and for the first time political power in the state has slipped out of the clutches of the "families" (referring to the regional outfits National Conference and People''s Democratic Party).
Responding to the questions raised by the Opposition about not holding the Assembly elections along with the Lok Sabha polls, Shah said that it was not possible to give security to all the candidates. Reaffirming the commitment of the government to fight terrorism, Shah said that all the requirements of the armed forces to meet the challenges have been met with and he has cleared all demands for equipment to build other infrastructure. He said that the Modi government has exhibited its intent against terrorism by going across the border to smash terror infrastructure through surgical strikes both on ground and by air strike. The Home Minister said that earlier people with anti-India agenda were given security but the Modi government has reviewed this policy and removed the police cover for around 900 people.
He said only those people who are against India were now living in fear. He also acknowledged that there is a gap between the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of the country which was essentially because of the policies of the previous governments. Earlier, while extending the reservation benefit to the people living on the IB, Shah said it will benefit 3.5 lakh people in Jammu, Kathua and Sambha region as the people suffer because of constant shelling from across the border. The legislations brings the people in these areas under the three per cent reservation bracket at par with the benefit being given to those living along the Line of Control (LoC). The Jammu and Kashmir reservation Act has a provision for 43 per cent vertical reservation, he said.