Amit Shah PAUSES speech during ‘Azaan’ from nearby mosque in Baramulla, wins applause

Baramulla: In a noble gesture, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday briefly stopped his speech during a rally in the Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir after hearing ‘Azaan’ (Muslim call to prayer) from a nearby mosque. Just five minutes after the Union Home Minister began addressing the rally at Showkat Ali stadium in this North Kashmir district, he took a pause and asked those on the stage “if something was going on at a mosque”?

When someone on the stage told him that ‘Azaan’ was going on, Shah stopped his speech, attracting a huge round of applause and chanting of slogans in his favour from the gathering. After a brief moment, Shah said the call for prayer has now stopped and asked if he would continue his speech. “Should I start or not? Say it loudly, should I start,” he asked and then went on with his speech.

Earlier, soon after his arrival, Shah started his speech much to the delight of the people who had been waiting for hours since early morning. Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Jitender Singh, who were also present on the stage, did not address the gathering.

During his half-hour speech, Shah ruled out holding dialogue with Pakistan and asserted that the Modi government will wipe out terrorism from Jammu and Kashmir to make it the “most peaceful place in the country”.

Shah also said that assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be conducted with “full transparency” once the Election Commission completes the exercise of publishing the revised electoral rolls. Urging the youths to shun the path of violence, Shah said terrorism has claimed 42,000 lives in Jammu and Kashmir since the 1990s and asked whether it has ever benefited anyone.

He blamed the families of the Abdullahs (National Conference), Muftis (PDP) and Nehru-Gandhi (Congress) for the lack of development in Jammu and Kashmir as they ruled the erstwhile state for most of the years since the country’s independence.

The Union minister lashed out at those advocating dialogue with Pakistan. “Some people say we should talk to Pakistan. Why should we talk to Pakistan? We will not talk. We will talk to the people of Baramulla, we will talk to the people of Kashmir,” he said. Shah said the Modi government does not tolerate terrorism and wants to wipe it out. “We want to make Jammu and Kashmir the most peaceful place in the country,” he said.

Coming down heavily on the three political families for the second consecutive day, the home minister alleged that their rule was full of misgovernance, corruption and lack of development. “Mufti and company, Abdullah and sons and the Congress have done nothing for the welfare of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

The home minister repeated what he had said at his rally in Rajouri on Tuesday that earlier, power in Jammu and Kashmir was with three families, 87 MLAs and six MPs. “Now 30,000 people, who were elected representatives of panchayat and districts councils, are part of the governance process,” he said.

Shah said due to Article 370, there was no reservation for the SCs and STs but after its abrogation, quota benefits could be given to Gujjars, Bakarwal and Pahadis. “Everyone will get their due share under the reservation. There will be no loss of share for anyone,” he said. 

On Tuesday, Shah announced that ST reservation benefits will be given to the Pahadi community along with Gujjar and Bakarwal communities following a recommendation of the Sharma Commission. He said that Rs 56,000 crore investment has come to Jammu and Kashmir in the last three years, which will give employment opportunities to five lakh people, while just Rs 17,000 crore investment had come since independence.