Despite over a dozen civilian killings in Jammu and Kashmir in October, the Centre on Wednesday denied that the minority community is shifting its base to Jammu due to safety reasons. Rather, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) stressed that PM Modi's "Naya Kashmir" vision is taking root as over 500 migrants returned to the valley to seek jobs under the Prime Minister's Development Package for Jammu and Kashmir announced in 2015.
Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai informed the Rajya Sabha that nine properties in the valley have also been restored to their rightful owners. The Home Ministry presented figures to stress that despite civilian killings in the valley, there has been no mass exodus.
"In October 2021, about 115 Kashmiri Pandit families, mostly women and children, moved to Jammu. These families are of government employees and many of them move to Jammu in winter as part of the movement of officials, and winter vacation in educational institutions," the Minister stated in another written statement when questioned about the safety of the minority community in the valley.
The Ministry of Home Affairs also presented data to back its claim that the ground situation has changed in the last two years.
The number of terrorist incidents in Jammu and Kashmir during a period of 841 days after Article 370, which granted special status to the state, was revoked dipped to 496 from the 843 cases reported in the same span of time prior to the abrogation, the government informed the upper house of the parliament.
"Overall statistics show that there has been a decline in terrorist attacks on civilians and the Army in Jammu and Kashmir," Mr Rai added.
As per data from April 16, 2017, to August 4, 2019, 843 terrorist incidents were reported in Jammu and Kashmir in which 86 civilians and 78 Army personnel were killed. From August 5, 2019, to November 22, 2021 (841 days after the abrogation), 496 terrorist incidents have been reported from the Union Territory in which 79 civilians and 45 army personnel have been killed.
The MHA also stated that the incidents of infiltration and terrorist attacks have decreased significantly since 2018 in Jammu and Kashmir.
In 2018, 143 incidents of 'Estimated Net Infiltration' were reported which had dipped to 141 in 2019, 51 in 2020, and 28 have been reported this year so far (up to October 30), the data provided by the minister in his response showed.
In 2018, 417 terrorist incidents were reported in Jammu and Kashmir which had decreased to 255 in 2019, 244 in 2020, and 200 this year (up to November 21), it showed.