Preparations are in full swing to hold elections in Jammu and Kashmir, said Union home minister Amit Shah as he launched a fresh attack on Kashmir’s traditional political players at a massive rally in Baramulla.
The elections will be held once the final voter list is published and other preparations are completed, he told a gathering of around 30,000 people who came from different parts of Kashmir.
Shah sent out a strong message to neighbouring Pakistan by ruling out demand for holding talks with Islamabad. “The government of India will talk to the Gujjars, Bakerwals, and the youth of Kashmir,” he said in an attempt to assuage anger in a section of the Kashmiri society.
The powerful BJP leader said former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti are responsible for the killing of 42000 people due to terrorism in the Union territory.
“The family of Mufti and Abdullah did politics for their personal gains and left people to suffer. They looted resources of J&K for their personal benefit and did nothing for the common man,” he said.
Seeking to paint a picture of normalcy in Kashmir, Shah said Baramulla was once a “hotbed of terrorism”, which has now turned into a “hotspot of tourists”.
He said the development of J&K was impossible without the efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Today, we have the best roads, rail links, bridges and hospitals.”
The home minister said Gujjars, Bakerwals, and Paharis were deprived of the benefits of democracy in the past 75 years and will be given due reservation.
In a move aimed at placating Muslims, Shah halted his address for a few minutes as ‘Azan’ played out at a nearby mosque. The gesture was received by a huge round of applause and cheers by the public.
Shah also laid the foundation stone of various power, road and Jal Shakti projects.