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Delimitation, elections, restoration of statehood: Union Home Minister Amit Shah lays down roadmap for Jammu & Kashmir

11:08 PM Oct 23, 2021 | FPJ Bureau

Delimitation in Jammu and Kashmir will be followed by elections and restoration of statehood, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Saturday as he visited the Valley for the first time since Article 370 was revoked two years ago.

"Why should we stop delimitation? Nothing is going to stop. After delimitation, there will be elections and then restoration of statehood," Shah said in an address to members of youth clubs in Srinagar.

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Earlier in the day, Shah discussed the security situation at a high-level meeting.

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In his address to the youth clubs, Shah also said the revocation of Article 370 is "irreversible". Defending the communication blockade and curfew following the August 5, 2019 move to revoke Article 370, Shah said they were a "bitter pill" meant to save lives.

‘‘There was a lot of criticism about why there is curfew, why there is internet shutdown. I will answer. First, I want to ask a question. For 70 years, three families ruled here. Why were 40,000 people killed in Kashmir? Do you have an answer?’’

‘‘During that time [when Article 370 was revoked], they tried to incite people. A conspiracy was hatched, some foreign powers were part of it. How many fathers would have shouldered coffins of their young sons if we had not imposed a curfew. Who was saved by imposing the curfew? The youth of Kashmir was saved."

The Home Minister said the abrogation of special status changed Kashmir's narrative from terrorism to development. "Two years ago, news from Kashmir was about terrorism and stone-pelting. Today it's development, education, skill development, youth engagement," he said.

"In the 70 years till 2019, only 500 medical seats were available; after 2019, this number has increased to 1,120 and it would soon be doubled. This did not happen for seven decades because ‘those families’ were not interested in development, they played politics", he said.

Describing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision about J&K, he said, "Modiji wants Jammu and Kashmir to be a 'giver' and not a 'taker.' Most of the national flagship programmes have achieved their targets in J&K. Swachh Bharat mission has achieved its target and every household in J&K has a toilet today. He further said 100 per cent homes in J&K have electricity and LPG connections.

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