No talks with Pakistan : Amit Shah

Taking a swipe at the Mufti and Abdullah families without naming them, Amit Shah said that the three families which had ruled J&K for 70 years would never understand the pain of an elderly father who is forced to lift the coffin of his young son.

The government of India would rather talk to the youth of Jammu and Kashmir than Pakistan, home minister Amit Shah declared on Monday, adding that a new era of development has begun in the Union Territory under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Farooq sahib has given some advice to the Union government – to talk to Pakistan. I want to tell Farooq sahib, who has been a former chief minister of J&K, that we will talk to the people of Kashmir. I will talk to the youth of Kashmir Valley,” Shah said, referring to Farooq Abdullah, leader of the National Conference party.

“Why should we not talk to you?” Shah asked a gathering of delegates and representatives of Panchayati Raj institutions at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre in Srinagar on the last day of his three-day visit to the troubled region, his first since the central government in August 2019 repealed Article 370 of the Constitution that conferred special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

“With a firm belief, I want to convey to you that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a new era of development has begun in J&K and complete results of this development will be visible by 2024,” the home minister said, adding that he has spoken directly with the people of Kashmir, without bulletproof vests and additional security, to emphasise the progress and development in the newly formed Union Territory.

On the issue of land being taken away, the home minister said that after the abrogation of Article 370, many people said land belonging to the local people would be taken away. “Panchayat (village council) members are here, sarpanches (village chiefs) are here. Go and ask people in your villages how much land has been taken away from them in the last two years,” Shah said.

Shah praised J&K’s Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, saying that he has provided jobs to more than 20,000 people. “Today also, six thousand people are being given jobs. Now, the corruption that the three families indulged in is a thing of the past,” the home minister said.

He appealed to the youth to not be swayed by rumours. “I want to convey to the youth of Kashmir that those who handed stones and weapons to you, please tell them that there is electricity and hospitals in Kashmir,” Shah said. “Are there medical colleges and is potable water available over there? There is nothing,” he said, referring to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

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