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Govt policy to ensure normalcy in J&K: Jaitley
`Parliament session, election dates not to overlap’
P L Uniyal
NEW DELHI, Nov 22: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Wednesday stated that policy of the government was aimed at bringing normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir.

Responding to a question on the Centre’s proposal to withdraw cases against first-time stone-pelters in Kashmir valley, he said that the government’s aim was to ensure peace and it worked on the basis of what steps were required to bring normalcy back.

“There was a situation when civil disobedience was at its peak. Thousands of stone-throwers used to come out. Terrorists were picking their targets at will. Hurriyat (Conference) would give a call whenever they liked and everything was paralysed," Jaitley told reporters here.

He said, “The situation today has changed. Security forces have an upper hand and it has become difficult for stone-pelters to gather a crowd.” “The Hurriyat leadership has been exposed. Through its new initiatives, the government intends to engage with all who want to talk to ensure return of normalcy,” he said.

“What efforts are to be made will be decided by our special representative and the state government," he said.

The Centre has appointed former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma its special representative for Kashmir.

Taking the suggestion of the Centre’s special representative forward, over 4,500 cases against youths involved in stone pelting for the first time will be dropped in a bid to win hearts in Kashmir valley, officials said yesterday

"The government policy is to bring peace there (Jammu and Kashmir)... The government works on the basis of what steps are supposed to be taken to bring normalcy back to the valley," Jaitley said.

The minister said the central government, through its interlocutor, intends to engage with all who want to talk to resolve the Kashmir issue.

“In a situation like this, the government through its new initiative is engaging with those who want to talk. We are trying to bring back normalcy. What efforts are to be made will be decided by our special representative and the state government," he said.

With regard to convening of Parliament session, Jaitley told reporters that dates of the session would not clash with the assembly elections in Gujarat. “We are going to ensure that a regular winter session is held but we will make sure that the parliament session and election dates don’t overlap,” said Jaitley.

In the meanwhile, a national daily quoting its sources stated that the winter session of parliament is likely to be held from December 15 till January 5. A decision in this regard was reportedly taken during Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg, according to the daily.

The second phase of polling in Gujarat will end on December 14 and results for the state, along with Himachal Pradesh, will be declared on December 18.

The delay in announcing the dates for Parliament session triggered a war of words between the BJP and Congress. Sonia Gandhi, president of Congress, accused the government of “sabotaging” the session on “flimsy grounds.” Addressing a Congress Working Committee meeting, Sonia Gandhi had said, “… in order to avoid the questions and answer ahead of Gujarat elections, the government has taken the extraordinary step of not holding a winter session when it should be held.”

Jaitley hit back saying the dates for Parliament had also been altered in the past, including by the erstwhile UPA government.


News Updated at : Thursday, November 23, 2017
 
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