Assembly elections are imminent in Kashmir. A bilateral meeting with Pakistan is not likely. These issues came up in Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s public meeting in Baramulla on the 5th. In the 25-minute speech, Shah also targeted Nehru-Gandhi, Farooq Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti for the underdevelopment and growth of terrorism in the Valley in the last seventy years. He blamed for the death of 40 thousand of people in the valley.
On the 5th, Shah held a meeting at the Shaukat Ali Stadium in North Kashmir’s Baramulla. Thirty thousand citizens were present. There, Shah said, “I assure you, there will be free and transparent elections in Jammu and Kashmir only after the preparation of the final voter list is completed.” The work on the new voter list started last August. Since then, there has been strong speculation that once the work is completed, the Valley will hold its first assembly election since 2014 at the end of winter next year. The same speculation got water-light in Shah’s announcement on the 5th.
First public meeting after Kashmir became UT
This is the first time that the union home minister has held a public meeting there since the special status of Kashmir was revoked and the Union Territory was created. 30 thousand citizens were brought from different parts of the valley by bus. In front of them, Shah said, “I was told, who will come and listen to you in Baramulla? Those who are videoing the meeting, please turn the camera and show how many people are present in this breathtaking valley.”
On that day, in the middle of Shah’s speech, the sound of Azan came from a nearby mosque. At that time, Shah remained silent for five minutes. Then he started talking again.
The Pakistani topic came up in Shah’s speech. He said, “Many people told me, we should start talking to Pakistan. Why should we talk to Pakistan? We won’t talk. We would rather talk to Gujjar, Pahari, youth community of Kashmir.” In this case, Shah targeted Nehru Gandhi along with the Gupkar alliance. In his words, “Some people have ruled for the last 70 years. They are now advising me to talk to Pakistan.” The union home minister also alleged that these families have looted Kashmir’s resources for personal gain.
He brought up the topic of development. Shah’s question is, how many villages in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir have electricity? He then said, “In the last three years, all villages in Kashmir have been electrified.” He also said that development in Kashmir would not have been possible without Narendra Modi. In this regard, examples of roads, rail communication, bridges, and hospitals have come up in Shah’s words.
Praise for Maqbool
According to him, the Modi government’s biggest achievement is bringing back democracy in the valley. Shah’s speech also featured Maqbool Sherwani’s praise for stopping the Pak infiltrators on the 5th. A section of politicians in the Valley, however, recalls that Maqbool was a member of the National Conference who showed bravery by misguiding the Pakistani invaders in 1947.