The Move Towards The Normal

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The Government of India, for the first time, confirms that elections to the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly would be held before September 30 this year. Home Minister Amit Shah’s recent statements stamp the return to normalcy and peace.

FOR the first time, the Government of India, in unambiguous terms, confirms that elections to the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly would be held before September 30 this year – a deadline set by the Supreme Court in its verdict on abrogation of Article 370 in December last year.

The assurance comes from the horse’s mouth. Home Minister Amit Shah, in his first interview to a Jammu and Kashmir based local news channel, has given clear indications of the phased withdrawal of troops and AFSPA from Kashmir after this year’s elections. He has made it clear that the Assembly elections in J&K would be held before September 2024. Shah has also reiterated in context of the removal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) that, in contrast to the past when the Army and the central paramilitary forces were playing the lead role, the J&K police is now a trusted and competent organisation as it has been at the forefront of fighting terrorism.

He has asserted that terrorism is in its end stage and the authorities are now dismantling its ecosystem in Kashmir. While asserting that retrieving the PoJK was an agenda of his government and the same was a commitment and obligation of the Centre as per the Parliamentary resolution of 1994, Shah has said that the territories under Pakistan’s occupation belong to India and the people of PoJK are “our brothers”.

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