The Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said on Tuesday that the intractable menace of stone pelting and shutdown in the Kashmir valley had completely vanished and become history in the last three years after the withdrawal of the erstwhile State's special status on 5 August 2019.

"There has been major change in Kashmir after abrogation of Article 370. Now, there is no stone pelting, hartals and bandhs. All this has become a thing of the past. Security forces are committed to restore complete peace in the Valley," Sinha said in an interview.

Manoj Sinha, LG J&K
Manoj Sinha, LG J&K

"There was a time when the terrorists used to declare proudly that they had joined terror ranks. Now they know that they will not survive long. Now they are just misleading some 17-18 year olds and making them hybrid terrorists. However, we have started a campaign of the de-radicalisation of the youth. The Mission Youth is also working in this direction," Sinha asserted.

Development not possible without peace

Maintaining that development was not possible without peace, Sinha said that the people of Kashmir had realised this but some forces were still working at the behest of the neighbour and running an ecosystem for the survival of terrorism.

"In contrast to the past when buying peace from separatists had become a norm, we work for permanent establishment and maintenance of peace in Jammu and Kashmir," Sinha asserted.

Sinha regretted the loss of some innocent civilian lives but felt relieved that the Police and security forces had established an upper hand over the 32-year-long terrorism.

"People want that no incident of violence should occur in Jammu and Kashmir. If you take statistics of the last 20 years, you would see how many innocent lives were lost". He said the Police and security forces had eliminated as many as 130 terrorists, including 37 foreigners, in different operations and encounters in the last seven months of the current year. "If some fear of the terrorist is still there, it will end soon," Sinha added.

J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha
J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha

LG said like other parts of the country, Jammu and Kashmir too would celebrate 'Har Ghar Tiranga' festival with enthusiasm around this year's Independence Day. However, he added, there were some people who had objections to this but their number was shrinking and nobody was bothered about them. "Last year too, tricolor was hoisted in every Panchayat and school of Jammu and Kashmir on the Independence Day," he said.

Referring to developmental works undertaken in the Union Territory, Sinha said Jammu and Kashmir with just 1.3 crore population had been granted two All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), one IIT, one IIM, two Central Universities and a large number of new medical and degree colleges.

"Jammu and Kashmir is writing a new story of development," he said.

He referred to the UT's District Capex budget and pointed out that it had spiralled up to Rs 22,000 crore from just Rs 5316 three years back. He said that in 2018-19, Rs 67,000 crore were spent on the development projects but in 2021-22 more projects were executed with less expenditure, saving over Rs 4,000 crore.

Sinha asserted that the UT of Jammu and Kashmir was the country's Numero Uno in e-governance. "We are providing 290 services online and 75 percent of people have recently stated that they are satisfied with the services," he added. "A new chapter of development has started in Jammu and Kashmir after August 5, 2019," Sinha said, giving credit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for the radical changes they had introduced and implemented in the last three years.