Union minister of state for home affairs Hansraj Ahir Friday said that elections in Kashmir “will lead to a smooth fund flow” from New Delhi for various developmental activities “that will ultimately help restore permanent peace in the region.”
He also said that all threats issued by militants and other quarters to “disrupt the peaceful atmosphere” for civic elections “will be strictly dealt with by our alert forces.”Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function at the Border Security Force headquarters at Humhama here, Ahir said that elections are an integral part of every democracy.
“In every democratic country, polls are held to strengthen the democratic institutions. In Kashmir, we don’t want to change the meaning of elections,” he said. “The government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to ensure peace and development in Kashmir and for that elections are a must. I believe elections in Kashmir are our policy as it will ensure development and funds will flow smoothly from Delhi.”
Asked about threats issued by militants amid civic polls and the poll boycott call given by the Joint Resistance Leadership, Ahir said that “forces are fully capable to deal with all threats.”“I am here today and feeling satisfied at the morale of our forces. I am sure they will not allow any disruption to polls. All threats will be faced and every design to disrupt polls will be defeated,” he said.
The four-phased ULB elections had started in J&K on October 8 and concluded on October 16, though Kashmir witnessed lowest turnout of 5.5 percent while the overall turnout stood at 35.6 percent. The state is set to witness panchayat polls from next month.
To a query that Jaish-e-Muhammad has shared purported photographs of belongings of a BSF man killed in Samba on September 17, Ahir said: “We doubt the policy of Pakistan and there is no change in our stand. We will find out who is behind the act.”
Asked whether the BSF man was killed in a BAT action or by the Jaish militants, he evaded the query and said: “Our men deployed for protection of borders are doing an exemplary job. There will be no mercy for the infiltrators, militants and those planning to foment trouble in Kashmir by promoting militancy.”
Earlier, addressing soldiers after holding ‘puja’ on the occasion of Dussehra, the union minister said he has come to Kashmir only to celebrate the festival with the BSF men.