Union Home Minister Amit Shah on December 11 reaffirmed inside Parliament that Pakistan Occupied Jammu & Kashmir is part of India and that no one can snatch the region from us.
The Union Home Minister was replying to debate in the Rajya Sabha on the two bills– The Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill 2023 and The Jammu & Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill 2023– which were passed by the Lok Sabha on December 7.
He said that the Delimitation Commission, set up by the Centre for the delimitation of assemblies and parliamentary constituencies in Jammu & Kashmir, has reserved 24 seats for PoJK as it is ours.
“The delimitation commission has taken many other decisions. I just want to tell the past and present situation before the House. Earlier, there were only 37 seats in Jammu (division); now, the new Delimitation Commission has increased the number of seats from 37 to 43 in the Jammu region. Work has been done to make 47 seats instead of 46 in Kashmir (division). In this way, Jammu & Kashmir together have 90 seats against 83 seats earlier. And 24 seats of PoJK have been kept reserved because we still believe that…(and) today I want to say again that PoJK belongs to India, it is ours and that no one can take it from us,” Amit Shah said.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah again targeted former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and blamed him for Pakistan’s illegal occupation of a portion of Kashmir.
“Jahan tak tang nazariye ka sawaal hai, desh ki ek bhi inch zameen ka sawaal hai, humara nazariya tang rahega, hum dil bada nahi kar sakte. No one has the right to give away a section of our land to show off their big heart,” Amit Shah said.
Amit Shah also gave a reference to Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw and said that it was due to Sardar Patel’s intervention that the Indian Army was sent when Kashmir was being invaded by the Pakistanis.
“I want to give a reference to Sam Manekshaw. He said at one place that when the Pakistanis were attacking Kashmir, then he was busy in discussions (don’t want to name the person). Sam Manekshaw was present at a meeting in which Sardar Patel told Nehru, “Do you want Kashmir or not?” Then the decision to send the army was taken. If there was no ceasefire at an appropriate time, PoJK would not have been there. Why was the matter taken to the UN?” Amit Shah said.
The Home Minister also quoted Nehru’s one quote in which he “accepted his mistake” of taking the Kashmir issue to the United Nations, and said, “After the experience of United Nations, I have come to the conclusions that no satisfactory results can be expected from there. I considered the ceasefire decision a good one, but we could not deal with this matter well. We should have had more thoughts on the ceasefire and taken it late. Though, these are the mistakes of the past.” This quote is of Jawaharlal Nehru. Unko toh manoge ya nahi manoge ki unhone galti ki. Accept this…(Nehru himself is accepting that he did a mistake)”.
“The Supreme Court has affirmed that Article 370 was a temporary provision in the Indian Constitution. I would like to pose a question to those who adhere to Nehru’s philosophy: If Article 370 was extremely important, why did Nehru himself use the term ‘Temporary’ in relation to the article? Everyone who says that Article 370 is permanent is insulting the Constitution!” Amit Shah added. He further said that Manoj Jha questioned that if history asks after 40 years, who will be responsible?
“They say that if history asks after 40 years, who will be responsible? I tell you, for two centuries, if the decision of Article 370 (abrogation) is wrong, it would be of my Government, my decision would be wrong. PM Modi has taken this decision, neither he can run away from it, nor our Cabinet, nor our party. Responsibility has to be owned. When big decisions are taken, then they have to be owned as well and we have to answer to the country as well. History does not pardon anybody,” Amit Shah added.
Amit Shah noted that there are several States which share a border with Pakistan but are not influenced by terrorism on the other side of the border. He said that Kashmir was affected by terrorism due to the presence of Article 370.
“42,000 people lost their lives, and it was not about their religious identity, whether they were Hindu or Muslim. States like Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar have larger Muslim populations than Kashmir. It wasn’t a border issue either… Gujarat shares a border with Pakistan. So, why did separatism flourish in J&K? It was because Article 370 played a role in enabling and encouraging it,” he said.
Highlighting that the people of the country are watching the Congress, Amit Shah asserted that PM Modi will return as the Prime Minister in 2024. “If you want to stick to this decision even today, public is watching – there will be face off in 2024 and PM Modi will become the PM for the third time,” he said.
In Lok Sabha last week, Amit Shah said that Nehru made two big mistakes, due to which Kashmir had to suffer for many years.
The Jammu & Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023, was introduced in Lok Sabha on July 26, 2023. It amends the Jammu & Kashmir Reservation Act of 2004.
The Act provides for reservation in jobs and admission in professional institutions to members of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and other socially and educationally backward classes.
The other seeks to insert new sections 15A and 15B in the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 to nominate not more than two members, one of whom shall be a woman, from the community of “Kashmiri Migrants” and one member from “Displaced Persons from Pakistan occupied Jammu & Kashmir”, to the Jammu & Kashmir Assembly.
The two bills on the Jammu & Kashmir Reservation are aimed at providing “rights to those who faced injustice” and were deprived of their rights in the Union Territory.
Amit Shah said that everyone has supported all the elements of the two bills unanimously.
Stating that the term ‘weak and deprived class’ is a very hurtful name for any citizen, he said, “It has been decided to add the name ‘Other Backward Class’ in place of these terms, which are constitutional terms.”
The second bill is to give respect to everyone, including Kashmiri Pandits displaced in Jammu & Kashmir over the years, Amit Shah said.
“Terrorism (in J&K) started in the 80s, and reached its peak in 1989, many Kashmiri Hindus, especially Kashmiri Pandits and many Sikh brothers left the valley and scattered across the country. They went to Jammu, went to Bengaluru, went to Gujarat, went to Delhi, went to Faridabad…they scattered so much that in their own country they became displaced and refugees. (This bill) is to honour those people,” he said.
During his address, the Union Home Minister said a total of 46,631 families and 1,97,967 people who were displaced registered themselves with the Government after the Centre’s efforts.
He said that the ones displaced, including Kashmiri Pandits who are left from registering themselves, can approach the Government.
“Today, through this House, I want to tell the Kashmiri Pandits and other displaced persons scattered across the country that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Government is committed to providing you justice. You write to me, write to the Kashmir Government. Your registration will be done without any hassle. You will become a voter, you will be able to contest elections and you can also become a Minister in Jammu & Kashmir. You have full rights,” he said.
(with inputs from ANI)