Even home ministry insiders said that days of soft approach towards separatists in the Valley, including the Hurriyat Conference, will end soon.
New Delhi: Challenges are something that new home minister Amit Shah seems to enjoy and overcomes successfully. He has proved this beyond doubt as the BJP chief by playing a key role in bringing back his party to power. And now he is all set to repeat his performance as the new Union home minister as he sets out to tackle contentious issues including anti-terror fight, internal security, illegal migrants, Article 370 and 35A.
The role of home minister is not something new to the BJP’s “chanakya”, considering that he held the portfolio in Gujarat when Narendra Modi was the chief minister. However, the dynamics at the national level assume a much bigger proportion and pose a new challenge to him.
If the past track record of Mr Shah as the Gujarat home minister is any indication to go by, he is know to have zero tolerance towards terror. Thus, one can expect a much more pro-active role of the security forces in the Kashmir Valley.
Even home ministry insiders said that days of soft approach towards separatists in the Valley, including the Hurriyat Conference, will end soon. It is expected that while the security forces will be given a complete free hand to deal with terrorists in the Valley, other agencies like the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate will launch an offensive against separatist elements and their over-ground workers in Kashmir with the sole view of cutting their financial network.
The new incumbent at the North Block will have to address the issue of Article 370 and Article 35A while taking a closer look at the Jammu and Kashmir situation.
The BJP manifesto has promised to eliminate to these two special provisions regarding J&K. While Article 370 deals with giving autonomy to J&K, Article 35A provides special rights and privileges to permanent residents of the state.
However, it may not be easy for the new home minister to deal with these matters as local parties like the National Conference and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have already issued threats of major backlash in the Valley if these Articles are eliminated.
But given the BJP’s public stand on this contentious issues, Mr Shah is likely to pursue it much more aggressively as compared to the previous NDA Government.
The issue of illegal migrants also remains on top of the priority list of the new home minister who would ensure that the exercise of preparing National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam is taken to its logical conclusion. The NRC exercise is being conducted on directions of the Supreme Court and is largely aimed at identifying the migrants, mostly from Bangladesh.
Mr Shah is also expected to give a major push to the Citizenship Amendment bill which aims at providing citizenship to religious minorities like Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis who have come to India in the wake of religious persecution in neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
The bill was withdrawn by the previous NDA government after introducing it in Parliament in view due to protests.
Under Mr Shah, the new NDA government is all set to make a fresh attempt to get the bill cleared by Parliament.
While the situation in Naxal zones improved considerably during the previous NDA government, it still remains a major internal security challenge that Mr Shah will have to address.
Another key issue that Mr Shah is expected to closely monitor is violence, particularly political killings, in both Kerala and West Bengal. Even during the previous government, the then home minister Rajnath Singh had expressed concern over violence and issued advisories to the two states.
But with the BJP consistently maintaining that its workers were being killed due to political reasons in Kerala and West Bengal, Mr Shah is expected to take a tough stand on the issue and the home ministry’s role may not just be limited to merely issuing advisories to state governments.