Challenges best met through dialogue, targeted action by security forces to continue, says Vohra
Jammu: Delivering the Governor’s Address on the first day of the legislative assembly’s Budget Session here Tuesday morning, Governor NN Vohra called for tough and targeted action by the security forces to ensure that violence does not disrupt lives in the Valley yet again.
“We shall need to regain the lost trust and negate the misgivings in certain sections of our society,” Vohra said in his address to a joint session of the legislature.
The Opposition staged a walkout during Vohra’s address to protest what it called the failure of the government on all fronts, particularly on security.
Vohra said in his address that he hoped 2018 will be a year of opportunities on several fronts. “Government firmly believes that the elected and the electorate have equal stakes in the peace process and, together, they will have to rise against those who choose violence to disrupt the established order,” he said.
“Such challenges will be met through dialogue, which is the best means of resolving all disagreements,” he said.
He said the government appeals to all those who had earlier refused to be part of the peace process to come forward and accept the offer of Dineshwar Sharma, Government of India’s special representative for Kashmir, to engage in dialogue.
At the same time, he said, the government remains committed to putting an end to violence. “Government remains equally determined to ensure that the arc of violence does not spread from the fringes to the mainstream, to yet again disrupt our lives. This will require tough and targeted actions by our security forces,” he said.
“For the past several months our security forces have been successfully carrying out targeted counter terrorist operations. While they shall engage in such operations whenever it is necessary to do so, it is hoped that these shall involve the least possible collateral damage to the lives and properties of innocent persons,” he said.
He hailed the role of Army, Central Armed Police Forces and the J&K Police. He said that while the valour and sacrifices made by police personnel cannot ever be viewed in monetary terms, the government has, to express its unbounded gratitude, taken several measures for further enhancing the welfare of policemen and their families.
“Side by side, recognising the serious visual disabilities suffered by youth who received pellet injuries, government has decided to rehabilitate them and mitigate their sufferings to the maximum possible extent,” he added.
The governor said that the government is aware of the growing aspirations of students, some of whom have secured outstanding achievements in academics, sports and many other fields.
“As regards our youth who have been influenced and misled into deviating from the path, the government remains committed to weaning them away from the purveyors of violence,” he said.
Vohra said the real battle is “not on the streets but to combat and counter the deviation of the younger generation from the inherited values of our society.”
“As we are gathered here today, in this citadel of democracy, let us resolve that from now onwards the problems faced by the people of Jammu and Kashmir in recent years will not be allowed to become the baggage of the future and that the anxieties of our people will be replaced by aspirations of a safe and prosperous future,” Vohra said in his address.
“We should resolve to join hands to bring about a moral consensus for the revival of a societal environment which is in harmony with our traditional value systems and we must also loudly declare that we are opposed to conflicts and violence,” he said.
He regretted that women and children are among those who have suffered the most from the recurring disturbances in the Valley.
The Governor said the government is determined to restore democratic institutions, particularly those at the grassroots level.
“Long years of unrest have adversely affected our democratic institutions, particularly those at the grassroots level. The absence of elected local bodies has not only deprived the people of the power to take their own decisions regarding development and other issues impacting their day to day lives, but also adversely impacted the flow of resources from the Central and the State Governments to the rural and urban local self-governing institutions” he said.
He announced that the government has decided to hold elections to Panchayati Raj Institutions during February 2018 and soon thereafter, to the Urban Local Bodies.
He said that the Prime Minister’s Package for the return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Migrants has been a key initiative aimed at ensuring the dignified return of Kashmiri Pandit families to the Valley. In 2017-18, he said, 3000 additional supernumerary posts have been created under the programme in various departments. Out of these 3,000 posts, 2,575 have been referred to recruiting agencies and will be filled up shortly.
The Governor said that the government is also committed to look after the Kashmiri Pandits who chose to stay back when their brethren left the Valley during the period of peak militancy. Recognising the sacrifices made by the Kashmir-based Pandits, the government has authorised their special recruitment under the Prime Minister’s Package, at par with their migrant brethren.