LS nods to J&K Budget amid arguments over Pandit exodus

Jammu and Kashmir’s 2022-2023 budget of around ₹1.42 lakh crore was passed by Lok Sabha on Monday amid much acrimony and backlash between the Treasury and State benches. opposition regarding the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Kashmir Valley in the 1990s.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman used strong words to accuse Congress of leaving the state’s minority Pandit community to fend for themselves; the opposition then staged a walkout when MPs were not allowed to speak when the charges were made.

The opposition had already objected to the bill being put up for discussion without having been distributed to it beforehand. But the minister’s response on the question of the Kashmiri pundits still raised the spirits. Responding to the Jammu and Kashmir budget discussion, Ms Sitharaman attacked Congress over a series of tweets published by her Kerala unit regarding the exodus of Kashmiri pundits from the valley during the 1990s , an issue that was highlighted by the publication of the film “Kashmir Files” and raised by several members of the Lok Sabha during the debate. While Ladakh BJP MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal and Janata Dal (U) MP Sunil Kumar Pintu called for the film to be tax-free nationwide, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Dane Ali called for the film to be banned. accusing it of inciting hatred among various communities.

In a series of tweets with the hashtag #KashmirFiles vs Truth on Sunday, the Kerala Congress said, “After the terrorist attacks, instead of providing security to the pundits, BJP Governor Jagmohan asked them to move to Jammu. A large number of Pandit families did not feel safe and left the valley in fear.

In attacking Congress, Ms Sitharaman said, there were a series of tweets from Congress saying that the Kashmiri pundits left the valley on their own and not because they were forced to.

“Our party (Congress) believes that it was not because of terrorism but the move was due to financial gain and offering of land in Delhi,” she said quoting a series of tweets She also said that Congress was an ally of the government of the time when the exodus happened and that the then chief minister left people to fend for themselves when terrorism was rising.

She also alleged that a Prime Minister under a Congress regime in the past met a separatist who allegedly killed an Indian Air Force officer and later the same separatist admitted to a foreign TV channel. that he had killed an IAF officer.

MPs from the Congress, NCP, TMC and National Conference walked out of the Lok Sabha in protest at allegations by Ms Sitharaman and the Lok Sabha chairman not allowing opposition MPs to intervene.

After the walkout, the House passed the budget totaling ₹1.42 lakh-crore for Jammu and Kashmir along with additional requests for grants requesting additional expenditure of ₹18,860.32 crore for the Union Territory .

Ms Sitharaman said normalcy was achieved after the repeal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, whereas before that it was a false normalcy.

In August 2019, the government repealed many provisions of Article 370, resulting in the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. “Jammu and Kashmir was not normal under Section 370…there was false normality before the repeal of Section 370…after the repeal there is no no false normal,” she said. She added that 890 central laws became applicable in Jammu and Kashmir after the repeal of Section 370.

Ms Sitharaman said 40,000 projects have been completed in Jammu and Kashmir in 2021-22 and connectivity in the union territory is improving. The Union Territory has seen a 90% decrease in ceasefire from 900 in 2020 to 98 in 2021, she said, adding that terrorism has been contained and infiltrations have significantly increased. decreases. On investment, she said, the investor-friendly campaign in Jammu and Kashmir has paid off. “Investment proposals of Rs 44,177 crore have already been received. The resulting employment potential is 1.80 lakh…most of the investment proposals come from outside,” he said. she declared.

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