The government has failed to fulfil its promise...

  • Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury

Extracts of the speech of Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on debate on Jammu & Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill and Jammu & Kashmir Reorganization (Amendment) Bill on December 6, 2023

Shri Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary (Bahrampur): Honorable Speaker sir, both the bills are being discussed in the House since yesterday. I am surprised that the former Law Minister, Ravi Shankar ji, another Law Minister Kiren Riju ji and yesterday there was another minister who comes to the House quoting Nehru ji on every issue and thinks critically against Nehru ji. Jitendra Singh ji was also there yesterday. When we were asking about something different, everyone intentionally turns to Nehru Ji.

We are tired of hearing - 70 years – again and again. I request Amit Shah ji and all the ministers that there should be a day, on which, Kashmir and Nehru ji, his mistakes and his truth should be discussed openly. I challenge you to do so.

Our former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji had a saying, which is called the ‘Vajpayee Doctrine’. You decide yourself whether you follow ‘Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat, Insaniyat’ or not. Our current Prime Minister Narendra Bhai Modi ji had advised you that we will do away with ‘Dilli ki doori and dil ki doori’. Has that happened? You decide for yourself. Now, it is time to have some sort of introspection in-so-far as Kashmir is concerned.

Our Home Minister had said in the House at that time that I am ready to sacrifice my life for PoK and Siachen, let alone Kashmir. You also said that elections will be held at the appropriate time. Tell me if I said something wrong? You thought that local elections will be conducted, but your defeat in the local elections is certain. You adopt new methods to avoid that. This is called ‘Gerrymandering’. Amit Shah ji, you had promised that you will bring peace in Kashmir, but you forgot to keep the promise you had made. The fire of hope was lit in the minds of people, but you forgot to douse it. This is your problem. Just now Ravi Shankar Prasad ji was talking about Vallabhbhai Patel ji. You desperately want that rift between Vallabhbhai Ji and Nehru ji should be created at any cost.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, whose legacy the BJP has now appropriated to discredit Nehru, tried to convince Liaquat Ali Khan in the Partition Council to take Kashmir and leave Hyderabad-Deccan. In her book, ‘Kashmir in Conflict’, Victoria Schofield says that even Mountbatten’s political adviser Sir Conrad Corfield recommended a barter but anything that Corfield said carried no weight against the long-standing determination of Jawaharlal Nehru to keep Kashmir in India. History is witness to the fact that if the Muslims of the valley under the leadership of Sheikh Abdullah and the National Conference had not helped at that time, it would have been a little difficult to keep Kashmir with us.

Ravi Shankar Prasad ji, I want to tell you one more thing. Former Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha was not from our Party. He said, “It was a mistake, but think also of what would have happened if India had not. What if Pakistan had gone to the UN first?” This is the statement of Yashwant Sinha ji.

Pakistan had made a standstill agreement with Hari Singh. India did not accept that under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru. Is that wrong? Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru has been treated by you as a whipping boy to heap up all allegations upon his shoulder. This is ironical to note. Because of Pandit Nehru ji, the country has reached so far today. Let this also be discussed in the House one day.

All these legal matters have already been talked about. I want to say that you claim so much in Kashmir, proudly say that we have conducted rural elections, urban elections. We have done this. We have done that. If so many elections have been conducted, then, what problem did you have in conducting the Legislative Assembly elections? What was the need for you to bring one law after another? You want to ensure your victory in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections, that is why all these actions are going on. This is called ‘electoral gerrymandering’. You are doing this so that you can win the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly elections.

As per a report by the Forum of Human Rights in Jammu and Kashmir, between 2019 and 2022, 71 CRPF troops lost their lives, doubling the toll from the preceding four years from 2014 to 2018 during which 35 fatalities occurred. Is this right?

Between April, 2023 and November, 2023, a total of 23 army and security personnel have lost their lives. On August 09, 2023, the Ministry of Home Affairs reported to Rajya Sabha that between 2018 and 2020, Jammu and Kashmir experienced 761 terrorist incidents which resulted in 174 civilian deaths. The highest number of 228 attacks occurred in 2018 causing 40 civilian casualties. As per a reply in the Rajya Sabha, 99 security personnel were killed in Jammu and Kashmir between August2019 and April 2022. In the preceding five years, 460 security personnel were killed. According to RTI reply, the number of terrorist incidents has only increased after the abrogation of Article 370, increasing from 151 incidents in 2014 to 191 incidents till August, 2022. Do correct me if am wrong!

151 incidents occurred in the year 2014.In 2018, the number of incidents was 417. In 2020, the number of incidents was 244. In 2022, till August, the number of incidents was 191. Forty Jawans were martyred in Pulwama attack in 2019. It was the deadliest attack in three decades, which according to the former Governor Shri Satya Pal Malik was avoidable and was due to the Government’s incompetence. What did we say? Satyapal Malik ji was the governor. You cannot deny him. Even the Balakot incident occurred because of that. If we are interested in asking any question, we are immediately declared anti-national. . In 1971, our brave army, under the leadership of Smt. Indira Gandhi, defeated Pakistan, helped in forming Bangladesh and detained 93,000 Pakistani soldiers. Shimla Agreement was signed after that. Everything is well-known to the world. If anything is asked about Balakot, we are immediately declared anti-national. We have complete faith in our brave army. Because of Balakot, our officers were also martyred at that time. Please tell me whether what Satyapal Malik has said is wrong?

Despite claims of reduced terrorist attacks, information from the Ministry of Home Affairs reveals that between August 2019 and July 2022, the region witnessed an average 3.26 terror attack casualties per month compared to 2.8 casualties in about five years preceding the abrogation.

I am telling you very recent events. Tell us about Rajouri encounter. Did Anantnag encounter happen there or not? Kulgam terror attack, Rajouri attack and Poonch attack happened there. There was definitely reduction in the number of terror attacks in the valley, but Chenab Valley, Jammu region across Pir Panjal was peaceful till now, but why are such incidents happening there? You had promised that terrorists will be eliminated, development will continue, but why is this happening? It is not unfair to ask this question. We ask fair questions. You had promised about Kashmiri Pandits. There is an allegation against us that in the era of Kashmiri Pandits, VP Singh government was formed with your support. Was there no migration of Kashmiri migrants at that time? Why do you put all the blame on us? You must consider the historical perspective. This is your mistake.

Let us come to the issue of Safety of Kashmiri Pandit. Launched in 2008, the ‘Prime Minister’s Rehabilitation and Return Scheme’ offered Government jobs to Kashmiri Pandits in order to facilitate their return to Kashmir. Over 6000 Kashmiri Pandits have taken employment under the Scheme and migrated to the valley. However, the targeted killings of individuals like Mahesh Bhatt and Rajini Bala in 2022 prompted many beneficiaries of the scheme to flee from Jammu. Consequently, the JK Administration issued orders to suspend the salaries of Kashmiri Pandit employees who had left the valley. In February 2023, the Administration issued a directive specifying that salaries would only be released for migrant Kashmiri Pandit employees who had resumed their duties in Kashmir. The Government tried to avoid another exodus of Kashmiri Pandit as it will tarnish the image of BJP and it is the Party that ostensibly champions the cause of the Pandits. There is an atmosphere of fear there from which you can’t save them. The migration still continues. You don’t pay a stipend. What did you do to Kashmir – converted it into a ‘Khap Panchayat’. A Lieutenant Governor was sent there and there are some officers with him - they do their will. You have concentrated all your capacity. Almost 6 years have passed, but elections are not being held. Is it a crime to demand elections? We demand from you people to hold elections. It is our demand that peace should be restored in Kashmir, but it is not happening, hence our problems are increasing. You may not be worried, but it is natural for us to be worried because ‘Kashmir’ is the ‘Crown’ of our country.

You talk about investment, let me tell you that it is worth many lakhs of crores.MHA data from December 2022 shows that investment in JK fell 55 per cent in four years. The abrogation year was the worst as per MHA data. Investment fell to Rs. 376.76 crores in 2021-22 from Rs. 840.55 crores in 2017-18. While LG has mentioned proposals worth Rs. 66,000 crores, in reality, the MoS Home mentioned that only Rs. 1547 crores worth of investments have been made in the UT. In March 2023, Emaar invested 60 billion USD. This announcement comes after almost four years since the abrogation of Article 370 and is the only foreign investment to be announced so far.

As per the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries, economy suffered a loss of nearly Rs.18,000 crores in four months after the abrogation of Article 370. Jammu and Kashmir ranked 21stamong 36 States in Ease of Doing Business Survey of 2020. Despite the identification of 33,426 vacancies in the Government of Jammu of Kashmir, only 25,450 vacancies have been filled in December 2020. This suggests that a significant number of posts still remain unfilled.

The Government has failed to fulfil their promise of 50,000 jobs for Kashmiris in various Government Departments. In February 2023, the reply to a parliamentary question shows that while vacancies are being identified and advertised, the process of filling these vacancies is not immediate. This could result in a time lag between vacancy identification and actual employment. According to the Period Labour Force Survey of 2022-23 conducted by the National Sample Survey Office, the estimated unemployment rate among individuals aged between 15 and 29 years in Jammu and Kashmir was 13.7 per cent. The same is the state of the Education Sector.

Prevalence of anaemia in children between six to 59 months of age increased from 53.8 per cent in 2015-16 to 72.7 per cent. That is why I say that you people are experts in turning ‘yes’ into ‘no’ and ‘no’ into ‘yes’ inside the House. You definitely believe this sometimes. You people have great skill and shrewdness in turning ‘white’ into ‘black’ and ‘black’ into ‘white’. But the reality has come to light here. If you guys win an election, it doesn’t mean that you have conquered the world. The votes of the common people are not a fixed deposit in anyone’s pocket. Let us accept the votes of common people. If there is victory today, you could face defeat the very next day. There is great cleverness in these two bills that you have brought. Provide more facilities in Jammu and reduce facilities in Kashmir and create discrimination among the entire population, this is your objective. You have removed 35A, but the demand for domicile is rising in Jammu and Ladakh too, do you have any answer to this? We have no objection to this bill that you have brought. You can bring a bill, provide facilities to the people, but the reality should not be hidden. If you keep hiding the truth, then if not today, then tomorrow the country will definitely tell you that you have betrayed them. It is necessary to discuss the issue of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru throughout the day. I have made this offer and they have accepted. Let there be a discussion for one day, throughout the day, so that people know who has done what and how. This would bring out the entire reality.