LS Passes Bill To Merge J&K Cadre With AGMUT

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   Parliament building – PTI File Photo

New Delhi- A bill to merge the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) cadre of all-India services officers with the Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre was passed by Lok Sabha on Saturday by a voice vote.

The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 has already been passed by Rajya Sabha.

The statutory resolution, opposing the ordinance which the bill has replaced, was rejected by the House. An amendment too was defeated by a voice vote.

Introducing ‘The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021’, Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy said the government was working to take Jammu and Kashmir on the path to development.

He said around 170 central laws are being implemented in Jammu and Kashmir after abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution that gave a special status to the erstwhile state.

The government is implementing different development projects and schemes in Jammu and Kashmir, he added.

“I request the members to pass the bill,” he added.

Raising objections on the bill, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury asked “what was the need to bring an ordinance for this?”.

He said regularly promulgating an ordinance is not good for a parliamentary democracy as an ordinance should be preceded by an emergency situation or any urgency.

“Our point of contention is loud and clear,” he said, adding after abrogating Article 370, the government showed a “dream” to the people that they would “make heaven” in Jammu and Kashmir and create jobs there.

Introduction of this bill reflects that the government took the step of abrogating Article 370 without any preparation, Chowdhury alleged.

The Congress leader said Jammu and Kashmir is a sensitive state and the cadre should be local and officers having ground knowledge should be appointed there.

He alleged that militancy is still prevalent in the union territory and people are living in an atmosphere of fear.

The government tried to turn Jammu and Kashmir into a large prison, the opposition leader said, adding they blocked telecommunication services and failed to normalise the situation there.

“There is unemployment, restriction, lost avenues and total confusion,” Chowdhury added.

He further said the government had promised to bring back Kashmiri Pandits to the Kashmir valley but has failed to ensure their return.

“Please think for Jammu and Kashmir with new ideas and do not take adhoc measures,” he said, adding the government should make Jammu and Kashmir a state and create a cadre to appoint officers there.

Speaking against the bill, Hasnain Masoodi (J&K NC) said this bill is akin to an assault on the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“You are continuously increasing confusion…What is the objective of this bill? …You are taking Jammu and Kashmir towards uncertainty through this bill,” he said, adding appointed officers should have connect with the ground realities.

He added that the government should restore the position of Jammu and Kashmir to that prior to August 5, 2019.

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