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Kashmir killings: ‘Sports ministry’ jibe at silent Amit Shah

Militants have murdered nine civilians in the Valley since early May, prompting several panicked Pandit government employees to flee to Jammu
Shah in New Delhi on Friday.
Shah in New Delhi on Friday.
PTI picture

Imran Ahmed Siddiqui   |   New Delhi   |   Published 04.06.22, 01:40 AM

Union home minister Amit Shah’s public silence at the recent targeted killings by militants in Kashmir, which have punctured his claims about a “decisive control on terrorism” in the Valley, has become “a talking point” in the corridors of power.

Militants have murdered nine civilians, including five Hindus, in the Valley since early May, prompting several panicked Pandit government employees to flee to Jammu while others have been allegedly prevented by the administration from leaving.


BJP member Subramanian Swamy has tweeted: “Since there is President’s Rule in J&K, and yet daily a Kashmiri Hindu is being shot dead, it has become necessary to ask for Amit Shah’s resignation. He can be instead given Sports Ministry since nowadays cricket is receiving undue interest.”

The home minister’s son, Jay Shah, is secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Shah on Friday held a security review meeting in Delhi with senior officials of the Jammu and Kashmir administration, including lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha, army chief General Manoj Pande, national security adviser Ajit Doval and the heads of agencies such as the BSF, CRPF and the Intelligence Bureau.

While the violence and the government’s failure to protect lives have attracted widespread criticism from political opponents and the Pandits themselves, Shah has so far not spoken a word in public on the subject.

“The home minister’s silence has become a talking point among bureaucrats at North Block. It marks a stark contrast with his image as a decisive leader,” an IPS officer attached to the home ministry told The Telegraph.

Shah is seen as the architect of the revocation of Article 370 provisions, a move he had claimed would restore peace in Kashmir and allow the return of Pandits who had left the Valley in the early 1990s.

Over the past few weeks, Opposition politicians and others have underlined that the recent killings have shredded those claims.

A home ministry bureaucrat said Shah had been hailed as the “New Iron Man of India” after he piloted the legislation to amend Article 370 in Parliament in August 2019.

It’s a subject the home minister has been openly bullish about even in the recent past. At a CRPF event in Jammu in March this year, he had built up the August 2019 move as the Narendra Modi government’s “biggest achievement” and claimed it had given the administration a “decisive control over terrorism”.

“His silence now on the recent targeted killings is very unusual and puzzling,” the home ministry bureaucrat said.

Shah has come under attack not just from the Opposition but also from within his own party over the latest killings, which include the murder of a bank manager, schoolteacher, government employee and brick kiln worker at their workplaces.

Valley parties have castigated the government over the latest killings, the National Conference accusing it of “utter failure” to ensure security despite the heavy deployment of forces.

The People’s Democratic Party has alleged a complete breakdown of law and order. “Will the government still parrot the narrative of normalcy or has it internalised its own propaganda?” a PDP leader said.

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