‘Shutdowns trigger disturbances and economic losses’
Jammu: Calling to put an end to “hartals” (strikes), Jammu and Kashmir governor, NN Vohra, on Thursday said that the last year was marked by Pakistan’s sustained attempts to infiltrate the largest “possible number of terrorists into the Valley”.
Due to Pakistan’s continuing proxy war and its unceasing campaigns for the past nearly three decades to perpetrate violence and chaos to destabilize Jammu and Kashmir, Vohra said the growth and development of the state has been adversely affected.
“This resulted in the security forces remaining engaged in counter terrorist operations throughout the past year, in which a very large number of terrorists were killed, besides the loss of lives of civilians and security forces personnel,” Vohra said in a message on the occasion of India’s Republic Day.
He stated that 2017 witnessed repeated ceasefire violations by the western neighbor (Pakistan), both across the International Border and the Line of Control, which resulted in the closure of schools, damage to properties, loss of cattle, many innocent lives being lost and the residents of the affected border villages having to evacuate to safer areas.
To counter militancy, Vohra said government forces have been performing their duties with utmost devotion, in extremely trying circumstances.
“I salute our fearless officers and men and pay homage to the brave hearts of the State Police, Central Armed Police Forces and the Army who laid down their lives to safeguard the territorial integrity of our country,” the governor stated.
Vohra stated that we need to put an end to the continuing hartals and protestation calendars which result in disturbances and closure of all activities.
“The recurring disorders have caused human and economic losses and the repeated disruption of the educational schedules has adversely affected the career advancement of our youth,” he stated.
“It is indeed unfortunate that our polity and the society at large have failed to muster courage to immunise our youth, particularly girls, from being involved in agitational activities”.
He said it is of crucial importance to safeguard the interests of the upcoming generation and to take all required steps to ensure against their getting frustrated and being attracted to radical ideologies and violent activities.
“I once again appeal to the chiefs of all political parties and the leaders of all social, cultural, religious and other organisations in the State to reflect seriously over the happenings in the past years and accept that the recurring agitations, hartals and closures have engendered no other outcome except causing law and order problems which have adversely affected the functioning of public offices and educational institutions, besides disrupting trade, business, tourism and all economic activities,” he stated in the message.
Referring to the steps taken by New Delhi in normalizing the relations with Pakistan, the Governor said various initiatives taken by the Prime Minister to secure friendly relations with Pakistan have still to yield a positive outcome.
“I hope that Pakistan will soon realise the futility of continuing its terror and violence agenda in Jammu and Kashmir and recognise that only sustained peace and normalcy along the borders will help in restoring fruitful relations between the two countries,” he said.
He also called upon the elected representatives, political executives and the entire spectrum of public services in the State to collectively ensure that the administration provides prompt, accountable, transparent and efficient services to all our people.
Besides, Vohra suggested that state administration o devote methodical attention to ensure that the Prime Minister’s Development Package of Rs 80,000 crore is effectively utilised to timely implement the various infrastructure and development projects for which the financial support has been received.
“It is equally important that the Administration pursues inclusive policies and ensures equitable allocation of resources to promote the welfare of people living in all parts of the State, especially the neglected segments and those who reside in the remote and unconnected areas,” he said
Pointing towards the upcoming Panchayat elections, Vohra stated that the long years of unrest have caused enormous damage to the grass-root level democratic framework.
“In early 2016 action had been initiated for the conduct of elections to Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies. However, for varied reasons, these elections have continued to pend. Recently, the State government announced its decision to commence the electoral process during this winter,” he said.
“Once the grass roots level rural and urban self-governing bodies are in position I trust that government shall promptly empower them with the required delegations and optimum financial and logistical support,” he added.
On the appointment of New Delhi’s special representative to Kashmir, Vohra stated, “the Union government has appointed its Special Representative to carry out a dialogue with one and all in Jammu and Kashmir. I trust that his ongoing endeavours will contribute to enlarging the constituency of peace”.