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February 25, 2020
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In Kashmir for a public outreach, four Union Ministers on Wednesday used the occasion to dispel the fears of locals concerning land and jobs, and promised high-end courses for them in Information Technology.Buoyed by the locals’ response, Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi interacted with traders at the commercial hub of Lal Chowk in Srinagar.Referring to the fears of locals after the revocation of Jammu & Kashmir’s special status on August 5, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said, “The present dispensation is committed to protect the rights and land of the people.”Large gatheringAddressing a large public gathering at Budgam’s Sheikhpora, Mr. Rai said there would be a special focus on industrialisation in the newly carved Union Territory (UT) to open up new employment generation avenues for local youth, and the improvement of the education sector.He called secularism “a unique strength of the country”. “All citizens have the responsibility to strengthen it,” he added.Union Minister for Communications, Electronics and Information Technology and Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad promised that the government will set-up “every required infrastructure for the development and export of IT products from the J&K UT”.Inaugurating the incubation facility at the Srinagar Technology Parks of India here, he said: “The incubation facility will provide opportunities to IT entrepreneurs by providing plug-n-play and other digital infrastructure along with regulatory support to develop and export IT products from the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.”‘Train youth’He also interacted with young entrepreneurs and IT experts. The Minister asked officials to train and place the Kashmiri youth in different job-oriented courses, including artificial intelligence and block chain technologies.Another Union Minister G. Kishan Reddy, visited central Kashmir’s Ganderbal. “The agenda of my visit is to meet people, listen to their issues, and come up with a developmental plan in all spheres,” he said.The Minister distributed pension cards among widows and underprivileged under the Prime Minister’s Pension Yojana. He inaugurated several development projects dedicated to the district.Mr. Naqvi visited Srinagar’s commercial hub Lal Chowk and interacted with traders. He was accompanied by the Advisor to the Lieutenant-Governor Farooq Khan, and Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Dr. Shahid Iqbal Chowdhary. The traders thanked the Minister for his visit.‘Outreach a hoax’Meanwhile, Communist Party of India-Marxist state secretary M.Y. Tarigami said the visit was “nothing but a hoax”.“The move to parachute 36 Ministers is a propaganda in panic mode, as the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) has failed on every count throughout the country. What is the need for the BJP Ministers to visit J&K when the government claims everything is normal? Reality is that they want to sell Kashmir’s ‘normalcy’ and ‘all is well’ story for those in mainland India who are ignorant about Kashmir’s ground realities,” said Mr. Tarigami.Incarcerated Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter Iltija Mufti termed the visit as “normalcy acrobatics”. “Kashmir continues to reel under a crippling Internet shutdown and political leaders remain detained. There is massive surveillance and heavy presence of troops, yet curated photo-ops continue,” said Ms. Iltija.

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