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Rajnath non-committal on counter-affidavit in SC on Art 35-A
‘Centre not to show leniency to illegal immigrants’
JAMMU, Sep 12: The Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Tuesday remained non-committal on the issue of filing of counter-affidavit by the Centre to defend Article 35-A in the Supreme Court citing the reason of it being the sub-judice matter.

He, however, reiterated his yesterday’s assurance “to not to hurt the sentiments of any region of J&K on this account.”

In case of other significant issue of Rohingya refugees, the Union Home Minister clearly indicated that the Centre won’t climb down from its stated position and show leniency towards them, whom he described as, “illegal immigrants.”

Rajnath also retorted to the barb of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi aimed at the Prime Minister and BJP for “undoing Congress efforts and opening up space for terrorism and thus increased violence in J&K by allying with PDP in equal measure and tone.

“See there’s no use of making irresponsible statements on the issues of national interest. None can forget 1989. Even what was the situation seven-eight years ago? Everyone remembers that too. I’m not holding anyone responsible for that.” he replied. His next straight poser was, “Then why the situation did not improve after 1947.” He hastened to add that he was not fixing responsibility or accountability on that account too.

“I want the support of all political parties to restore peace in Kashmir. I want cooperation all stakeholders in the society who can contribute to improve the situation there,” the Union Home Minister said.

Initially he avoided to comment on Rahul’s remarks yet faced with repeated posers, he said, “You all can decide on the parity between two governments. But as far as our government is concerned, we are doing everything possible to improve situation there in Kashmir and it has shown a marked improvement as well. We’re making all out efforts to win the trust and confidence of people here.”

ON ARTICLE 35-A: The Union Home Minister chose not to give a straight answer to the direct poser as whether the Centre would file a counter affidavit in the Supreme Court defending Article 35-A, in the spirit of his yesterday’s assurance of not taking any action on this account which could hurt the sentiments of people of state.

His concise answer to this query was, “The matter is in the court of law. What they, those who have filed a PIL in the court, do or what happens next in this case – the information in this connection will continue to pour and you’ll get this information. I would not say anything beyond it.”

Earlier in a different yet related question as whether his yesterday’s assurance to the people of Kashmir was a deviation from the stated position of BJP vis-à-vis J&K’s special status, abrogation of Article 370, he restricted himself only to a brief clarification. He refused to move beyond it, citing the reason of issue being sub-judice.

“Please don’t misquote me on that account. I had said the people of Jammu and Kashmir. I had talked about the sentiments of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh – all regions. I did not talk about just one region. As far as Article 35-A is concerned, whatever I had to say, I already said yesterday. This matter is sub-judice hence I don’t need to say anything beyond it,” the Union Home Minister said.

He repeated the same answer when he was asked as whether the government would abide by the Supreme Court decision on this account.

ON ROHINGYAS: Regarding the question related to Rohingyas, Rajnath stated, “They are illegal immigrants and you cannot rule out security threat.”

However on the straight question about their deportation, he said, “Let’s see what happens.”

Earlier in his briefing also, he made an indirect reference towards them while talking about displaced persons in Jammu, as he stated, “Jammu city, which is hosting a large number of Displaced Persons (DPs) of different shades, from different places and communities, has earned the name of “the city of Displaced Persons. We’ve a great sense of respect and sympathy for them (Displaced Persons).”

In this context he also mentioned the measures being taken for the “rehabilitation of POJK refugees.” And then he chose to clarify his government’s stand on, what he said, “illegal immigrants” though without mentioning the word Rohingyas.

“The Government of India has sympathy for the displaced persons, whether they are from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan or Bangladesh or those belonging to the minority community there. Lekin Jo Illegal Immigrants Hain Bharat Mein Unkay Prati Hamara, Bharat Sarkar Ka Ravaiya Kathore Hai (But those who are illegal immigrants in India, our government will not show any leniency towards them). There should be no confusion on this account,” he said.

Later while replying to a question about “illegal foreign settlers in J&K, the politics in play over this issue and the slack attitude of the government to deport them”, the Union Home Minister stated, “We’re looking into it. Illegal immigrants Ke Baarey Mein Bhi Kuch Na Kuchh Karvai To Ki Jayegi.”

When asked about his government’s doctrine on Kashmir, Rajnath reiterated that it would be based on five Cs – Compassion, Communication, Co-existence, Confidence Building and Consistency which he spelt out yesterday in Srinagar.

He avoided straight answer on any possible NIA action against MLA Langate Engineer Rashid following alleged disclosures about him having received money from serving Pak army personnel.

“NIA is an autonomous institution and we should not interfere in its functioning,” he said.

About the issue of less risk allowance for JKP personnel, Rajnath assured a way forward saying that he visited JKP personnel also in Anantnag during his Srinagar tour- probably a first by any Home Minister so far. “I’ve spoken to the Chief Minister and other senior officers on this account and their response was positive,” he informed.

Regarding high-tech border fencing on the border to seal them to contain infiltration, he said wherever fencing was not possible or physical barriers could not be created, technological sensors would be used to seal the border.

On the issue of tardy implementation of PMDP projects with particular reference to AIIMS Jammu, he stated that they had taken note of that. “The Deputy Chief Minister has told me that the land has been identified.”

He refused to accept that the number of terrorists in the valley was on rise yet added that all out efforts were being made to create more job opportunities for the youth to end their alienation.

Earlier in his opening note to the presser, Rajnath said that the Centre was trying to give equitable development to all the 3 regions of J&K. Several projects are under implementation under PMDP. “The Centre has decided to give 3000 jobs to migrants from Kashmir valley and Rs 1080 Cr have been sanctioned to the state under this head,” he further said. He also said that the central government has increased the compensation for those who get killed in ceasefire violations from Rs 1 lakh to 5 lakh.

Highlighting other initiatives, he said that the government also decided to construct 6000 transit accommodation in the Kashmir valley.

He said that the government has also allocated a package of Rs 2000 Cr for the rehabilitation of POJK migrants. The disbursal has been linked to AADHAAR and the money will be directly transferred to their accounts through DPT, he added.

Responding to a related query, he said that he had spoken to the Chief Secretary who informed him that this would be disbursed by December this year after their (POK refugees’) AADHAAR cards were made.

Giving a detailed account of 53 Highway projects presently underway under PMDP in Jammu region, he announced that Udhampur-Ramban project would be completed by December 2018.

News Updated at : Wednesday, September 13, 2017
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