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APM will pave way for restoration of democratic process in J&K: LG

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“Once delimitation process is over, ECI will decide about assembly elections”

Srinagar: Describing the All Parties Meeting (APM) convened by the Prime Minister and attended by the leaders of all major political parties as a ‘good beginning’, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha has said that it will pave way for the re-establishment of democratic process in the Union Territory.

In an interview to a TV channel, Sinha said that when he was appointed as Lt Governor, he was told by the Prime Minister to work for making early restoration of democracy possible.

“We conducted elections to the District Development Councils and I can tell you without any shred of doubt that these elections were the most peaceful, fair, free and transparent,” he said, adding, with the establishment of three-tier Panchayati Raj, the democracy in J&K is back on rails.

Asked how a leadership which was once branded as “Gupkar Gang” was involved into a dialogue process, Sinha said, “For me there is no gang, everyone is a citizen of the country and discussion and dialogue is the very essence of democracy.”

When insisted to comment on what was deliberated upon during the APM and whether Pakistan was mentioned there, he said that he will not divulge details but added that informal talks between countries are part of diplomacy and that India and Pakistan have even renewed the ceasefire pact too.

About the delimitation process, Sinha said that the Delimitation Commission is visiting J&K from July 06 and will be meeting all the political parties. The Commission has already sought reports from all the DC’s and will now seek suggestions from the political leaders and others who have some.

“It is a transparent process and those who try to raise some suspicions have either no understanding of the Indian Constitution or the functioning of such Commission,” he said, dispelling the rumours that BJP wants to increase seats in Jammu to have a Hindu chief minister.

He said once the delimitation process is complete, the Election Commission will decide about the elections and it will be the people of J&K who will decide who should represent them.

He asserted that whenever the Election Commission decides to hold elections, the administration will ensure that these are free, fair, transparent and violence-free.

When asked that whether the security atmosphere was conducive in the wake of recent drone movements and killings of elected representatives, unarmed policemen and civilians, the LG said the security situation was better and it was because of this situation that his administration could hold violence-free DDC elections.

On the restoration of J&K’s statehood, Sinha said that Home Minister of the country has made an announcement on the floor of the Parliament that statehood would be restored to J&K at appropriate time and so has the Prime Minister promised from the ramparts of the Red Fort while addressing the nation.

“So there should be no doubt about this issue in any mind,” he said.

Asked whether Ladakh would be merged with J&K again, Sinha said, “We should not dig into the past but move ahead for a better tomorrow.”

Commenting on the recent killings, he agreed that some such unfortunate incidents have taken place but suggested that it needs a comparative analysis.

“Infiltration has been stopped, recruitment in terror ranks has almost ended and top terrorists have been eliminated. By killing unarmed people, terrorists try to remain in circulation and also, some protectees too don’t follow the security protocols. The concerned agencies are onto it to ensure that no such incidents take place,” he said.

When asked that most of the Kashmir politicians are complaining that nothing has changed in J&K after August 05, 2019, the LG said that lot has changed for the people of the UT whose quality of life “is bettering with each passing day”.

He the listed the achievements of his administration from AIIMS, Jammu and Srinagar, to Z Morh and Banihal tunnels, from industrial policy to health infrastructure to Covid management.

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