Statehood would be restored to J&K soon, says Ashok Koul, senior BJP leader in Jammu
Ashok Koul, Bharatiya Janata Party’s senior leader based in Jammu, said on January 26 that restoration of statehood for Jammu and Kashmir was being considered and there could be an announcement in this regard soon. Koul was speaking to the media on the sidelines of a function in Srinagar to commemorate India’s 72nd Republic Day.
When asked by mediapersons whether Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood would be restored, Koul said a commitment was made by Prime minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah “on the floor of the house” and that he was of the opinion it was “on the anvil”. “We believe that our leaders will fulfill the promises. We believe that statehood will be restored soon,” he said.
Koul, who is general secretary (organisation) of the BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir unit, however, declined to give any idea of the time frame in which such an announcement could be expected. He said the decision would be made keeping in mind the law and order situation in the Kashmir Valley. He added that the security situation, however, was improving.
“I can say that the situation is turning normal in Kashmir. The Republic Day celebration was held in a peaceful environment and attended by a large number of people,” he told the media.
Speaking on the occasion, Koul said that India was a republic that believed in democracy. “Today, Indians across the globe, especially in India, are celebrating the day. On this occasion, I congratulate people, especially Kashmiris, and pray for the prosperity and peace of Kashmir,” he said.
Asked about the delimitation process, Koul said that the government had already constituted a Delimitation Commission and the State Election Commission (SEC) in this regard. “I believe the work has been started already and they should submit the report in this regard at earliest,” he said.
Mobile Internet remained suspended in Kashmir on January 26 as a precautionary measure to ensure the smooth conduct of official celebrations. Suspension of mobile phone and Internet services on Republic Day and Independence Day has been part of the security drill in the Valley since 2005, when militants used a mobile phone to trigger an improvised explosive device (IED) blast near the venue of Independence Day celebrations.