Decision To Schedule Elections In J&K ECI’s Prerogative: MHA

SRINAGAR: The decision to schedule elections in Jammu and Kashmir is the prerogative of Election Commission of India, Ministry Of Home Affairs, Government of India said on Tuesday.

In a written reply to a question about the time-frame by which the situation in Kashmir would be brought to normal for starting democratic process in the Valley, Minister of State in MHA, Nityanand Rai said the Government had constituted a delimitation Commission, which has notified Orders on 14th March, 2022 and 5th May, 2022 on delimitation of Parliamentary and Legislative Assembly Constituencies of the Jammu and Kashmir.

“Thereafter, the Election Commission of India has initiated revision of electoral rolls of voters of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The decision to schedule elections is the prerogative of the Election Commission of India,” he said in reply to the question by parliamentarian A. Ganeshamurthi in the ongoing Monsoon Session of the Parliament.

Rai said the Government has a policy of zero tolerance against militancy and the security situation has “improved significantly” in J&K.

“There has been substantial decline in (militant) attacks from 417 in 2018 to 229 in 2021,” news agency GNS quoted Rai as having said.

The Government, he said, has taken various measures to normalize the situation in the Kashmir valley. “These include a robust security and intelligence grid, proactive operations against (militants), intensified night patrolling and checking at Nakas, security arrangements through appropriate deployment and high level of alertness maintained by the security forces.”

Moreover, he said, the Government has taken several steps for all round development of Jammu and Kashmir including implementation of PMDP, 2015, Flagship programmes, establishment of IIT & IIM, two new AIIMS and fast tracking of infrastructure projects in roads, power etc. Besides, he said, a new Central Scheme is being implemented for industrial development of J&K with an outlay of Rs. 28,400 Crores which would provide employment to 4.5 Lakhs persons.

The junior minister in MHA responded in negative to a question by the parliamentarian whether it is a fact that incidents of militant attacks are rising.

“Combating (militancy) is a continuous process. The Government has taken various steps in this regard including strengthening of legal framework, streamlining of intelligence mechanism, setting up of National Investigation Agency (NIA) for investigation and prosecution of (militancy) related cases, having various hubs of National Security Guards (NSG), stepping up border and coastal security, modernization of police forces and capacity building of state police forces etc”.

Due to “concerted and coordinated efforts of all the stakeholders”, he said, militancy related violence has been contained to a large extent in the country.

He said there were 229 militancy related incidents in J&K last year in which 42 security personnel and 41 civilians were killed. 117 security personnel and 75 civilians were injured during 2021, he said. In 2020, he said there were 244 militancy related incidents in J&K in which 62 security personnel and 37 civilians were killed. 106 security personnel and 112 civilians were injured in the year, he added.

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