SRINAGAR: The Centre on Wednesday said that “law and order situation” in Jammu and Kashmir was “much better” than the last year and that it was open for talks with those who “abstain from violence and work within the Constitution.”
“As reported by the state government, the law and order situation in Jammu and Kashmir is much better than the previous year as 583 cases have been registered during the current year till date, against 2,897 cases of previous year,” Ahir said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.
He said 1,2650 “miscreants”/separatists were “either arrested or bound down under substantive and preventive laws” by the police since 2016 and it also imposed restrictions in the vulnerable areas to thwart such incidents.
Ahir said the “government remains open to dialogue with those who eschew the path of violence and are willing to work within the framework of the Constitution of India.”
The police, he said, have undertaken various initiatives like conducting sports events, community policing, “counselling of miscreants” among others to engage the people of the state.
The minister said a number of schemes were started for providing employment to the youth of the state like additional recruitment of 10,000 special police officers, recruitment of 5,381 personnel in five new India Reserve Battalions (IRBs) and recruitment of 1,079 personnel in central paramilitary forces and the Assam Rifles.
“In addition, to accelerate the process of development in the state, the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) on November 7, 2015 has announced a development package of Rs 80,068 crore,” he said.
CONGRESS SLAMS GOVT
Meanwhile, rejecting the central government’s claim that situation in Kashmir has “improved” this year, the Congress on Wednesday demanded that the government must “take the nation into confidence and spell out the steps being taken to bring normalcy in the state.”
Congress’ senior spokespersons Ghulam Nabi Azad and P Chidambaram said in a statement that casualties had been reported from the state every day since July 10.
“The Congress repudiates the government’s claim and calls upon the government to take the nation into confidence and disclose what it is doing to bring about normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir,” the two leaders said in the joint statement.
Eight pilgrims, six soldiers and a child had been killed in July in the state, besides many incidents of clashes between civilians and government forces injuring numerous persons, they pointed out.
“Yet the government claims that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir has improved. Such a claim defies belief and common sense. The statement made by the government yesterday is wrong, misleading and clearly at variance with the situation on the ground,” Azad and Chidambaram said.
The leaders were referring to Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir’s reply to a written question in the Lok Sabha on the situation in the state.
The Congress has been critical of the central government as well as the PDP-BJP ruled state government over the handling of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. It also called for taking all parties and stakeholders into confidence to help bring normalcy to the state.
The party fears the situation is going out of control in Jammu and Kashmir and has favoured initiation of dialogue with various stakeholders.
Chidambaram had on Sunday criticised the “maximalist” approach of the central government in Kashmir. __GK News