“Nowhere is it written that Jammu and Kashmir won’t get statehood. Where are you drawing this conclusion from?” the Home Minister asked.
During the Lok Sabha discussion on the J&K Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021, Union Home Minister Amit Shah today said that Jammu and Kashmir will be given statehood “at an appropriate time”.
A furious Mr Shah, responding to claims that passing an amendment to the 2019 bill – which split the former state into two union territories after Article 370 was withdrawn – meant the centre had no intention of restoring statehood, said he had “clarified the intentions” of the bill.
“Many MPs said bringing the amendment means J&K won’t get statehood. I am piloting the bill, I brought it. I have clarified the intentions. Nowhere is it written that Jammu and Kashmir won’t get statehood. Where are you drawing this conclusion from?” the Home Minister asked.
“I have said in this House and I say it again – this bill has got nothing to do with the statehood of Jammu & Kashmir. Statehood will be given… at an appropriate time,” Mr Shah stressed.
Congress’s Ghulam Nabi Azad, on Monday, had said: “You (Mr Shah) had promised that statehood will be restored….But this bill creates suspicion government wants to keep J&K as a union territory.”
The J&K Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill intends to merge the J&K cadre of all-India services officers with the Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre.
Mr Shah also slammed the opposition – particularly the Congress party – for seeking answers over promises made as J&K’s special status was withdrawn, but failing to provide any of their own.
“We were asked what we did about promises made during abrogation of Article 370. It has been 17 months since… and you are demanding an account? Did you bring the account of what you did for 70 years? Had you worked properly… you need not have asked us,” the BJP leader asked.
“I will give an account for everything. But those who were given the opportunity to govern for generations should look within if they are even fit to demand an account,” he added.
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