“Why should we stop delimitation?” Union Home Minister Amit Shah questioned in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, asserting that statehood will be restored there.
On his first visit to the Union Territory since abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019, Shah told a gathering of members of Jammu and Kashmir’s Youth Clubs in Srinagar: “Delimitation will happen, followed by elections and then restoration of statehood… I want to be friends with the Kashmiri youth.”
He added that the abrogation of Article 370 had brought democracy to the grassroots-level. “People questioned the curfew and internet suspension (in J&K). Had there been no curfew, we don’t know how many lives would have been lost. Kashmir’s youth have been saved due to curfew and internet suspension… three families ruled for 70 years… why were 40,000 people killed?” he asked, taking a dig at political leaders in J&K, adding that strict action will be taken against those who want to ruin peace and obstruct development in the UT.
Delimitation of J&K is a contentious process that gathered momentum after PM Narendra Modi met members of 14 political parties in the region in Delhi this June. The Delimitation Commission has started the process of redrawing Assembly segments based on the 2011 Census of the erstwhile state.
Shah on Saturday also chaired a high-level meeting in Srinagar, in which the key issues of prolonged encounters with terrorists, growing threat of radicalisation, the recent spate of targeted killings in the Valley, and an increase in cross-border infiltration were discussed.