On the occasion of India’s 72nd Republic Day, Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha said the holding of violence-free District Development Council (DDC) elections is the biggest achievement of his government.
“The DDC polls that were held across Jammu and Kashmir in eight phases in November and December last year were the maiden elections since 1990 that were held without any intervention of separatists and militants. It was for the first time in the past three decades that none of the groups called for poll boycott and people came out to vote without any fear or threat,” Sinha said.
“These elections were violence-free as security forces kept militants at bay. There were no threat posters, nor were the political workers and candidates targeted. It should not be construed that the hearts of militants or separatists had changed. They were waiting to strike but they couldn’t get an opportunity as the security agencies did not allow them to come out from their rat holes to indulge in any sort of misadventure,” he added.
Sinha further said: “The security forces have an upper hand over militants and miscreants as there is no interference from any side. The commanders are free to take their decisions and act accordingly. The strategy is paying off as the militants have been pushed to the wall and they are no more in a position to dictate terms.”
“The overall improvement in the security scenario has instilled confidence among the common people and they are no more living under the shadow of the gun,” he added.
Sinha said that when Peoples Democratic Party was heading the coalition government in J&K, one of the close aides of the former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti had declared that holding any sort of electoral exercise in J&K was impossible. “But time has proved his prediction wrong.”
“Participation of people in DDC elections and none of the mainstream parties staying away from the process has vindicated the Centre’s decision to abrogate J&K special status and go after the militants, and separatists, who had pushed J&K towards the edge,” he said.
“Those who used to preach violence and sedition are finding it hard to even come out of their homes as they stand exposed before the masses. People participating in the DDC elections in droves has shattered the myth that Kashmiris believe in boycott,” he added.
Sinha asserted that revival of democratic institutions in J&K is the priority of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government.