Jammu & Kashmir

Decision to schedule elections in JK ECI’s prerogative, says MHA

Voters stand in a line to cast their votes in Kulgam district of south Kashmir. [FPK File Photo]

Srinagar: The decision to schedule elections in Jammu and Kashmir is the prerogative of the Election Commission of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India said on Tuesday.

In a written reply to a question about the time-frame by which the situation in Kashmir would be brought to normal for starting democratic process in the Valley, Minister of State in MHA, Nityanand Rai said the government had constituted a delimitation commission, which notified orders on 14th March, 2022 and 5th May, 2022 on the delimitation of parliamentary and legislative assembly constituencies of the Jammu and Kashmir.

“Thereafter, the Election Commission of India has initiated revision of electoral rolls of voters of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The decision to schedule elections is the prerogative of the Election Commission of India,” he said in reply to the question by parliamentarian A Ganeshamurthi in the ongoing Monsoon Session of the Parliament.

Rai said the government of India has a policy of zero tolerance against militancy and the situation has “improved significantly” in JK.

“There has been substantial decline in (militant) attacks from 417 in 2018 to 229 in 2021,” he said in the reply.

The government of India, he said, has taken various measures to normalize the situation in the Kashmir valley.

“These include a robust defence grid, proactive operations against (militants), intensified night patrolling and checking at Nakas, arrangements through appropriate deployment and high level of alertness maintained by the armed forces.”

Moreover, he said, the government has taken several steps for all round development of Jammu and Kashmir including implementation of PMDP, 2015, flagship programmes, establishment of IIT and IIM, two new AIIMS and fast tracking of infrastructure projects in roads, power etc. Besides, he said, a new GoI scheme is being implemented for industrial development of JK with an outlay of Rs 28,400 crores which would provide employment to 4.5 lakh persons.

The junior minister in MHA responded in negative to a question by the parliamentarian whether it is a fact that incidents of militant attacks are rising.

“Combating (militancy) is a continuous process. The Government has taken various steps in this regard including strengthening of legal framework, streamlining of intelligence mechanism, setting up of National Investigation Agency (NIA) for investigation and prosecution of (militancy) related cases, having various hubs of National Security Guards (NSG), stepping up the border and coastal security, modernization of police forces and capacity building of state police forces etc”.

Due to “concerted and coordinated efforts of all the stakeholders”, he said, militancy related incidents have been contained to a large extent in the country.

He said there were 229 militancy related incidents in J&K last year in which 42 armed personnel and 41 civilians were killed.

117 armed personnel and 75 civilians were injured during 2021, he said. In 2020, he said there were 244 militancy related incidents in JK in which 62 armed personnel and 37 civilians were killed. 106 armed personnel and 112 civilians were injured in the year, he added. (GNS)


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