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Centre will consider revoking AFSPA, pulling back troops from Jammu and Kashmir: Amit Shah

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  • Will have dialogue with J&K youth, not those having roots in Pakistan
  • Assembly elections to be held before September
  • Statehood to be restored after elections

Srinagar: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said that the Centre will consider revoking the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Jammu and Kashmir.

In an interview with JK Media Group, the minister added that the government is planning to pull back troops from the Union territory and leave law and order to the Jammu and Kashmir Police alone.

“We have plans to pull back troops and leave law and order to the Jammu and Kashmir Police alone. Earlier Jammu and Kashmir police were not trusted but today they are leading operations. We will also think of revoking AFSPA,” Shah added.

The AFSPA empowers the armed forces personnel who are operating in disturbed areas with powers to search, arrest and open fire if they deem it necessary for “the maintenance of public order”. An area or district is notified as disturbed under the AFSPA to facilitate the operations of the armed forces.

Earlier, Shah had said that the AFSPA has been removed in 70 per cent of areas in the North East even though it is in force in Jammu and Kashmir.

Shah attacked opposition leaders Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, saying they don’t have any right to speak on terrorism.

“The number of fake encounters that took place during their time has never been matched by any other regime. In the last five years, not a single fake encounter has taken place. Rather the FIRs have been lodged against the people involved in fake encounters,” the minister added.

“We will have a dialogue with the youths of Kashmir and not with the organisations that have roots in Pakistan. They are responsible for the deaths of 40,000 youths,” Shah said.

The minister said the Modi government has banned 12 organisations for their involvement in terror activities, designated 36 individuals as terrorists, registered more than 22 cases to stop terror finance and seized properties worth ₹150 crore. As many as 90 properties were also attached and 134 bank accounts have been frozen, he said.

The Home Minister said that from 2564 incidents of stone pelting in the year 2010, the number has gone down to zero in 2023. “From 2004 to 2014, the number of terror-related incidents was 7217 and in the last 10 years, they have decreased to about 70 percent and were recorded to be merely 2227. Also, the total number of deaths due to terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir from the year 2004 to 2014 was 2829 and from 2014 to 2023, the number has decreased to a mere 915 which means 68 percent of the reduction. And please know that of those who have died in Jammu and Kashmir due to militancy, 85 percent of them were Muslims. Those who are propagating terror must be asked about their motives.”

Reiterating his government’s commitment to establishing democracy in Jammu and Kashmir, Shah affirmed that assembly elections would take place in the region before September and later statehood would be returned. He emphasized that democracy would flourish once again in Jammu and Kashmir, but it would not be dominated by a few families. He asserted that this democracy would truly represent the people of Jammu and Kashmir. “The political landscape will no longer be dominated by dynasties. The new leadership will emerge and I want people to support this leadership and strengthen it,” Shah said.

Shah said in Modi 3.0 regime, Dal Lake is going to be the most beautiful lake in the entire world and Srinagar’s Tatoo ground is going to be turned into Disney Land where at least a tourist would spend 3-4 days to explore it to the fullest. “You will find Gulmarg like Davos and there will be tourist homestay facilities. The filmmakers will make a beeline to Kashmir. All this is going to happen in the next two to three years. You will see a complete transformation in the coming three years. The Prime Minister has a vision for Jammu and Kashmir and its Kesar (saffron), Pashmina and apples will be most sought-after entities across the world,” Shah said.

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