- Government will protect the culture of Kashmir, Amit Shah said
- Spoke of the terms first used by former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee
- Said forces that seek to divide nation will get appropriate response
Union Minister Amit Shah, responding to the debate on the bill to extend President's Rule in Jammu and Kashmir, said the government will preserve "Insaniyat, Jamhooriyat and Kashmiriyat" -- terms first used by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee while speaking of a healing touch for the state. But renewing the promise, Mr Shah also delivered a warning.
"Modi government's commitment to the policy of 'Jamhooriyat, Insaniyat, Kashmiriyat' should not be taken to mean that the forces that want to divide India will be spared. They will be given an appropriate response in their same language," Mr Shah said.
While defining the terms, the minister questioned what is understood as "Kashmiriyat".
"I agree that we need to preserve Kashmiriyat. But I have a question which I want to place before you and the people," Amit Shah said.
"Kashmiri Pandits - they were thrown out of the state. Were they not part of Kashmiriyat? When the Sufis were attacked, Sufi saints were murdered, those who used to talk of Hindu-Muslim unity, they were also thrown out of Kashmir. Wasn't the Sufi tradition a part of Kashmiriyat?" he went on to add.
"Had anyone protected the Sufis, who spoke of Hindu Muslim unity, I'd have agreed that the people are concerned about Kashmiryat," he added. "The Kashmiri Pandits, who had been the carriers of Kashmiri culture for ages, were driven out and scattered. If we talk about Kashmiriyat today, we have to think of them too," he added.
But the government, he said, will protect the culture of Kashmir. "There will be a time when at Mata Khir Bhawani temple, Kashmiri Pandits will be praying and Sufis will be seen alongside them... I am not a pessimist, we speak of humanity," he added.
The government's motto of development has been inherent in the term "Insaniyat". It encompasses schools for children, toilets for women, electricity, welfare schemes and food, he said.
Jamhooriyat, or democracy, is what the government is hoping to achieve through the bill, he said.
Mr Shah's bill for the extension of President's Rule in Jammu and Kashmir was passed in the Rajya Sabha today with support from Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party and Naveen Patnaik's Biju Janata Dal.
With the Election Commission intending to hold assembly polls in the state towards the end of the year, the government has no option but to extend President's Rule for another term. Jammu and Kashmir has been under central rule since June 2018, when the BJP ended its alliance with Mehbooba Mufti's People's Democratic Party.