Everyone, including politicians, are free to visit J&K: Shah

Centre has no role in detention orders passed in Kashmir


NEW DELHI, Feb 13: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday disapproved of statements like 'golimaro' and 'Indo-Pak match' by a few BJP leaders during the Delhi assembly poll campaign and said these remarks may have been one of the possible reasons for the party's defeat. He, however, said the BJP does not fight elections just for victory or defeat but believes in expanding its ideology through polls.
"Such statements should not have been made. Our party has distanced itself from such remarks," he told at a Times Now programme. Shah was asked a question about a few BJP leaders raising slogans like 'golimaro' and talking about the 'Indo-Pak match' during the Delhi elections campaigning.
He admitted that the BJP may have suffered in the polls because of the statements made by some of its leaders.
"It is possible that our performance may have suffered because of this," he said.
Shah said his assessment on Delhi elections went wrong but asserted that the result of the polls was not a mandate on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) or the National Register of Citizens (NRC). He said anyone who wants to discuss issues related to CAA with him can seek time from his office. "(We) will give time within three days," he added.
Strongly defending the CAA, which provides for Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, the home minister said there is no such provision in the new law that will take away the citizenship of Muslims.
"We have never discriminated against anyone on the ground of religion. There is no provision in the CAA which says that citizenship of Muslims will be revoked. Don't just criticise CAA, but discuss it on the basis of merits. CAA is neither anti-Muslim nor anti-minority. I am ready to meet anyone, but discussions need to happen on merit. Unfortunately, nobody wants to come forward and discuss CAA," he said.
Shah also said that so far the government has not taken any decision on rolling out the NRC for the whole country and made it clear that those unwilling to show documents during the the National Population Register exercise were free to do so. He, however, said the NRC was a promise of the BJP in its election manifesto.
Asked about the ongoing agitations against the CAA, Shah said everyone has a right to peaceful protest but violence is not justified.
"We tolerate non-violent protests, but vandalism can't be tolerated. Silent protest is a democratic right," he said.
On Jammu and Kashmir, Shah said everyone, including politicians, are free to visit the newly-created Union Territory whenever they want to and there is no restriction on anyone's movement.
Asked about the detention of three former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti he said it was a decision of the local administration to slap them with the Public Safety Act.
Omar Abdullah has approached the Supreme Court and let the judiciary take a decision on it, he said. Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday said India has adopted a zero tolerance policy towards narcotics and the country's measures to control it will be overhauled so that smuggling and trade of drugs is stopped completely.
The "dirty money" obtained from narcotics trade is also used for funding global terrorism and other transnational crimes, he noted, adding that it was the need of the hour for all the countries to join hands and fight the problem.
Inaugurating a two-day conference on 'Combating Drug Trafficking' for the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) partner nations, Shah said, "We will not allow drugs from any country of the world to enter into our country nor will we allow it to go out of the country."
Declaring that India has adopted a zero tolerance policy towards all kinds of narcotics, the home minister said the country wants to closely work with BIMSTEC and other nations to wipe out the menace.
"I want to assure that India is committed to end the drug menace and will take the lead role to check narcotics trade in the world," he said.
"India will leave no stone unturned to tackle the problem strongly," Shah said.
According to an official statement, Asian countries are increasingly being affected by drug trafficking and BIMSTEC being the key link between the South Asian and the South East Asian Nations is one of the most effective platforms to tackle this global threat.
BIMSTEC is a regional organisation comprising seven member states - India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Shah also said Manipur and Mizoram having borders with Myanmar and some coastal states are sensitive and may become a gateway for illicit drugs entering India, which needs to be prevented.
He called illicit drug trade a global menace and said it is a burning global issue that plagues every nation, especially the Bay of Bengal littoral states.
It is thus very important for all the countries to engage with each other to exchange ideas, policies and best practices in order to combat this menace, Shah said. The home minister expressed concern over the increasing rate of drug addiction i.e., a 30 per cent rise in the last 10 years and termed the menace a "curse for mankind" as it not only kills an addict but also destroys families as well as the society.
Quoting Prime Minister NarendraModi, he said there is no nation in the world that is not affected by global terrorism, transnational crimes and illicit drug trafficking.
He expressed confidence and hope that this conference would open new avenues and generate new solutions to combat the menace of drug trafficking in the region.
Shah assured the delegates that under the prime minister's vision of a drug-free India, the government of India has devised a well laid out strategy to ensure inter-agency coordination and revamp the prosecution mechanism to end the menace of drug trafficking.
He cited an estimate of more than USD 400 billion of yearly illicit drug trade happening globally, giving an idea of the size of the mammoth issue facing humanity.
The home minister said there is a need for all the nations to join hands and supplement each other's efforts in fighting this menace as this global scourge cannot be fought by any country individually.
He laid emphasis that the nations of BIMSTEC are especially affected by illicit drug trade, transnational crimes and terrorism, making it all the more important to use a platform like this to devise coordinated strategies in ending the menace.
Shah said India taking the lead in organising this BIMSTEC conference would act as the harbinger of new avenues within the region that will help bringing other nations on such similar platforms to find solutions to tackle drug trafficking.
He also termed the Bay of Bengal littoral states as the focus of India's 'Neighbourhood First' and 'Act East' policies and India being the largest country in the region will not shy away from its responsibilities in fighting drug trafficking and terrorism. Talking about the steps taken by the central government in combating drug trafficking, Shah said the government has laid down a well thought out strategy to increase coordination among the agencies of the Centre as well as states, and the Home Ministry has established a joint coordination committee to increase surveillance over drug trafficking.

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