Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Thursday that the future of Kashmir’s youth does not lie in guns and stones, but in the huge Indian and global markets that await their talent.
Addressing a gathering after inaugurating several projects at the Raj Bhawan here, Shah said that those who handed over guns and stones to Kashmiri youth were never their well-wishers.
“The future of Kashmiri youth does not lie in guns and stones. Pick up laptops and march ahead as there are huge opportunities awaiting you in big Indian and global markets. We are waiting for your talent. I urge the Kashmiri youth to be part of the change,” he said.
He also said that Kashmir has changed a lot over the past few years.
“School closures, strike calls and explosions have been controlled and there is an atmosphere of peace. Last year, 1.88 crore tourists visited Kashmir. This time, many people visiting Kashmir complained to me that they could not get taxis.
“I ensure that every person is entitled to own a taxi after proper security verification. There was a rule that only those whose fathers or grandfathers were owning taxis were entitled for new taxis, but that is not the case now.”
Talking about the rule of Gandhis, Abdullahs and Muftis in J&K, Shah said these three families never allowed democracy to flourish at the grassroots level.
“For 70 years, panchayat elections were not held here. To ensure change, you need a will and that will was shown by Prime Minister Narendera Modi, who took a step to see that the panchayat polls are held in J&K and democracy reaches every village,” he said.
Shah then asked the people when did they see a new hotel coming up in Kashmir, adding that to accommodate the huge rush of tourists, the number of hotel rooms across the Valley will go up three times in the next five years.
“We will not face any issue while accommodating tourists. For the first time, people here are benefiting from a lot of small schemes. Farmers never got any money in their accounts in the last 70 years, but 12.43 lakh farmers of J&K are getting Rs 6,000 in their accounts annually now.
“Money was never an issue for J&K, but that it would never reach the right person as due to unprecedented corruption, crores of rupees would go waste. J&K politicians bought palatial houses abroad and they would spend winters in foreign countries every year,” he said.
Shah also said that today there are top institutions in Kashmir including AIIMS, IIM and IIT and people are reaping their benefits.
Taking a dig at National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, Shah said that they had welcomed the G-20 summit in their own way, but due to the personal efforts of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, the event became a grand success.
“Kashmir over the years had to be showcased at the global level and G20 became the best platform to do that,” he said.