(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer)
KASHMIR has traveled a considerable distance towards normalcy since the withdrawal of Article 370 in August 2019. Union home minister Amit Shah highlighted this fact during his inaugural address at a three-day conference of director generals and inspector generals of police. He said that the government's multi-dimensional efforts, terror incidents and the number of related deaths in Jammu and Kashmir have fallen. Drawing a comparison with the time when insurgency forced children from Jammu and Kashmir to study in other parts of the country, the home minister said, today 32,000 children from other parts of the country are studying in J&K. He also said that in the last four years, J&K has witnessed more investment than in the last 70 years. The home minister counted the booming tourism among the government's major achievements, saying more than“one crore and 80 lakh” tourists visited the union territory last year. This he attributed to the new normalcy in Kashmir.
It is true that Kashmir has become very normal in the last four years. This has happened incrementally over the period with violence declining sharply, reaching its lowest last year. Earlier, an MHA review highlighted the progress made in J&K over the last year on economic and security fronts. The union territory, the report said, witnessed“a 54 percent reduction in terrorist incidents, a 22 percent drop in recruitment of militants and 84 percent decline in the deaths of security forces.” In real terms, the militancy related violence has decreased from 417 incidents in 2018 to 229 in 2021 while the number of slain security personnel had reduced from 91 in 2018 to 42 in 2021.
On the development front, the report says that the BJP government at the centre has brought an investment of Rs 56,000 crores in just three years. Under the Prime Minister's Development Package in Jammu, the report mentions, J&K got about 63 projects in hydroelectricity at a cost of Rs 80,000 crore.
One biggest indicator of the new normalcy, as highlighted by the home minister, has been the growth of tourism, And last year is said to have broken all previous records. According to the tourist officials, the number of tourists Kashmir received this year is the highest so far, beating by far even the pre-turmoil period record. This has generated employment for the thousands of people who had lost their jobs during Covid pandemic. Going forward, the situation looks set to only improve further, hopefully with all other political and social drivers of the place remaining unchanged.
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