Less than two months after Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed a desire for “permanent peace” with India through dialogue, Union Home Minister Amit Shah ruled out any talks with Islamabad and instead preferred to reach out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
At a public rally he addressed on Wednesday at Baramulla, the Home Minister commented, some people often talk about Pakistan but, he would like to know how many villages in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) have power connections. On the contrary, he emphasised, “we have ensured, in the last three years, that all villages in Kashmir have power supply”.
Has terrorism ever benefited anyone, Shah asked people as he pointed out that the menace has consumed 42,000 lives from the 1990s in Jammu and Kashmir. "We want to wipe out terrorism from Jammu & Kashmir so that it remains the heaven of India. People say we should talk to Pakistan, we say will talk to the people of Kashmir," Shah told the public.
“Mufti and company, Abdullah and sons and the Congress have done nothing for the welfare of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
The Union Home Minister, whose two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir ended on Wednesday, also said that elections in the Union Territory will be held after the voters’ list is compiled. “The elections will be held in J&K with full transparency,” Shah said at the public rally.
At a review meeting of the security situation, the Minister asked the forces and the police to pro-actively conduct coordinated counter-terrorism operations, to fulfil the Prime Minister's vision of a prosperous and peaceful J&K. He appreciated the efforts of the security agencies and administration of the UT for keeping the streets free from violence and significantly restoring rule of law.
He reviewed the working of the security grid and progress made on issues discussed in previous meetings to reduce the incidents of terrorism and the stranglehold of the separatist networks over the system, said the Ministry of Home Affairs in an official statement. The Minister also took a detour to meet the Uri-based family of Special Police Officer (now constable) Mudassir Sheikh who laid down his life fighting 3 Pakistani Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists in close combat on May 25, 2022. The family has been a great source of inspiration for the police force and youth with their open denouncement of terrorism, said the Ministry.
Amit Shah also launched a slew of development projects, including 74 roads stretching over 434 kms which is worth ₹442.58 crore, seven bridges worth ₹23.40 crore and one building worth ₹4.97 crore.