The Centre had no option but to extend the President's rule for six months in Jammu and Kashmir as the Election Commission intends to hold assembly polls there towards the end of the year, Home Minister Amit Shah told Rajya Sabha on Monday as he moved a statutory resolution in this regard.
The statutory resolution on extending President's rule by another six months with effect from July 3, 2019 was approved by Lok Sabha on Friday.
"After assessing the current situation, including security and religious activities, the Election Commission has decided to hold election in Jammu and Kashmir towards the end of this year. The government did not have any option but to bring this resolution," Shah said in the Upper House.
He hoped that the House will understand the circumstances and support the resolution.
With the opposition questioning the delay in holding assembly polls, Shah said assembly elections were never conducted in the past in the state during the month of Ramzan, which was from May 7 to June 4 this year.
He also cited the Amarnath Yatra from June 30 to August 15 and said the Bakarwal community also moves to higher reaches during this time and returns only in October.
J-K Governor Satypal Malik had on November 21, 2018 dissolved the 87-member assembly citing apprehensions of horse trading and lack of credible alternative for government formation.
On December 20, 2018 President's rule was imposed. The Home Minister on Monday also moved the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019, to replace an ordinance issued by the previous government.
People living along the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir will get benefits of reservation in direct recruitment, promotion and admission in professional courses on a par with those living along the Actual Line of Control (ALoC).
The minister said that reservation will benefit about 3.5 lakh people living in 435 villages of the three districts -Kathua, Samba and Jammu.
People living along the international border were affected because of unprovoked shelling from across the border. "They had to live in bunkers. Children education gets affected".
There is a feeling among people of these three districts that their interests have been ignored, Shah said, adding that the government had to bring an Ordinance to correct this anomaly and provide reservation to them as well.
The amendment bill has already got approval of Lok Sabha.
The bill once passed by Parliament will amend the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 to bring persons residing in areas adjoining the IB within the ambit of reservation, on a par with those living in areas adjoining the Actual Line of Contro (ALoC).
People living in areas adjoining the IB in Jammu and Kashmir were not included in the ambit of the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 and Rules, 2005.
The rules provided for reservation in direct recruitment, promotions and admission in different professional courses to various categories.