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SOURCE: PTI

Jammu and Kashmir did not witness a single incident of stone pelting in 2023 while there was a 66 per cent decline in terrorist incidents and an 81 per cent drop in civilian killings since the scrapping of Article 370, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Thursday.

Launching an e-bus service in Jammu through video conferencing from New Delhi, Shah also said the Modi government is cracking down on terror financing, sealing and freezing assets of terrorists and has also outlawed several terrorist organisations.

“There were 2,654 incidents of organised stone pelting in 2010, which has come down to zero in 2023. There were 132 incidents of organised strikes in 2010 but not a single incident took place in 2023,” he said.

Shah said 112 civilians died in stone pelting in 2010 but not a single civilian died in 2023. In 2010, the number of civilians injured in stone pelting was 6,235 but no one was injured in such an incident last year.

He said due to the efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a new era of peace and security has started in Jammu and Kashmir.

“After the abrogation of Article 370, there has been a 70 per cent decline in total terrorism-related incidents, an 81 per cent reduction in civilian deaths, and a 48 per cent decline in the death of security forces. This shows that a new era of happiness and peace has begun in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

He credited Modi’s leadership for transforming Jammu and Kashmir, which was “known for terrorism”, into a tourism hub.

Shah also virtually distributed more than 1,000 appointment letters to Jammu and Kashmir Administrative Service (JKAS) and police officers, and compassionate appointees.

The Centre revoked Article 370, which accorded a special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, on August 5, 2019. The government also divided Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Shah said terror financing has also been curbed in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Properties are being sealed and attached. A lot of terror organisations have been banned to curb their activities,” he said.

Praising Modi, he said the prime minister has transformed Jammu and Kashmir, which was “known for terrorism”, into a tourism hub.

When Article 370 was scrapped, several leaders who had been taking advantage of it and had made democracy a joke said it would not have any effect on Jammu and Kashmir. But there has been a huge change, the home minister said.

“The era of bomb blasts, firings, stone-pelting and shutdowns has been replaced by education, schools, colleges, medical colleges, management institutions, industries and infrastructure. This is a big change that Jammu and Kashmir is going through,” he said.

Jammu and Kashmir received investments worth Rs 297 crore in 2019-20 and this increased to Rs 2,153 crore in 2022-23, he said.

“Nearly Rs 6,000 crore of investments are in the pipeline. This shows progress,” he said, adding that Jammu and Kashmir’s Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) has increased from Rs 1 lakh crore in 2014-15 to Rs 2,27,927 crore in 2022-23.

Shah further appealed to the youth of Jammu and Kashmir to enrol themselves as voters and become part of the democratic setup of the country.

“The youth of Jammu and Kashmir who carry computers in their hands instead of stones are connected and contributing to the progress of Jammu and Kashmir. Over 7 lakh youths have taken part in sports and this is a big thing,” he said.

Jammu is getting 100 e-buses and these will ensure a reliable, comfortable, economical and durable public transport facility for the people of the district, the home minister said.

These buses will also ply from Jammu to Katra, Kathua, Udhampur and on internal routes of Jammu.

“These buses will not only resolve commuting problems of the people in the coming days but will also be very useful from the environmental point of view,” Shah said.

Referring to those who received their appointment letters, Shah said the new recruits include 96 JKAS officers, 63 Account Gazette Service officers and 50 Police Service officers.

These officers have got these jobs on the basis of merit, he said, adding that during Modi’s tenure, jobs are provided on the basis of examination papers and not recommendation slips.

Earlier it was impossible to get a job without a political recommendation or corruption, he said.