Despite the assurance given to the leaders of Jammu and Kashmir by the Prime Minister himself, the Centre on Wednesday refused to give any timeline about when the statehood would be restored.
"Statehood to Jammu and Kashmir would be granted at an appropriate time after normalcy is restored in Jammu and Kashmir," was the written reply submitted by the Minister of State (Home Affairs) Nityanand Rai in Rajya Sabha.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a meeting with political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir last month, had spoken about removing "Dilli ki Doori as well as Dil Ki Doori" and assured his commitment to restoring full statehood at the right time.
Next week, on August 5, it will be two years since the state was downgraded to a Union Territory. "In view of the constitutional changes and bifurcation of the erstwhile state of the Jammu and Kashmir into Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union territory of Ladakh, in national interest and also in the interest of security, temporary restrictions on various communication channels like internet and mobile services were imposed in Jammu and Kashmir," the minister stated, adding that subsequently the matter was reviewed, and restrictions were gradually eased out in a phased manner.
4G internet data services were restored in the entire Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir this year on February 5.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, however, in another reply, mentioned that the number of terrorist incidents have reduced in Jammu and Kashmir during 2020 by 59 per cent as compared to 2019 and 32 per cent up to June, 2021 in comparison with the corresponding period up to June, 2020.
The ministry further went on to add that shops and business establishments, public transport, Government Offices, educational and health institutions, etc. are functioning normally in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
On issue of the resettlement of Kashmiri pandits, the ministry said that they have felt more secure in the recent past as evident from the fact that 3,841 Kashmiri migrant youths have moved back to Kashmir and have taken up jobs in various districts under the Prime Minister's rehabilitation package.
"Another 1997 candidates have been selected for jobs under the same package in April, 2021, and they will be moving to Kashmir soon. It is also pertinent to mention that as many as 26684 Kashmiri migrant youth showed interest in going back to valley by applying for the above referred 1997 posts, which were advertised by the Jammu and Kashmir's recruitment Board in December 2020," said another reply tabled in Rajya Sabha.
"These statements are important. In their own words they are saying that the situation is getting normal so steps should be taken to restore statehood," said a senior leader of BJP from Jammu and Kashmir.
The Ministry also mentioned that the Modi government has adopted a policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism and has taken various measures, such as strengthening of security apparatus, strict enforcement of law against anti-national elements, intensified cordon and search operations to effectively deal with the challenges posed by the terrorist organisations.
"Security Forces also keep a close watch on persons who attempt to provide support to terrorists and initiate action against them. The government has also continuously encouraged policies to mainstream the youth, including providing employment opportunities to wean them away from militancy," stated the written statement, adding that adequate strength of forces is deployed in Jammu and Kashmir for augmenting the counter insurgency grid, strengthening internal security and maintaining law and order.