Revocation of Article 370 is a well-thought decision to usher in a new era of development in J&K, Ladakh: PM
Staff Reporter AMN / NEW DELHI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today assured the people of Jammu and Kashmir that elections would be held in their territories at the earliest.
PM remarks came after the Centre took away the special status of from Jammu and Kashmir this week,
The Prime Minister reached out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir through a special televised address and assured that despite losing autonomy and special status, the region will continue to have a voice and representation by local leaders.
“Just like there used to be MLAs before, there will be in future. Just like there was a cabinet before, so will be in future. The CM post will also continue,” Modi said in his speech.
Jammu and Kashmir has been without an elected government since June last year, when the BJP had pulled out of its coalition with Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP. After six months of Governor’s rule, the state was put under President’s rule in December last year, ensuring that the Centre continues to call the shots.
Polls were expected to be held in May along with the Lok Sabha elections, which were held in J&K, but security reasons were cited as the reason for not holding them.
The inordinate delay also gave the ruling BJP its window of opportunity to move to effectively scrap Article 370 of the Constitution without consultation of a state government.
Prime Minister Narendra said a new era has begun for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh with the revocation of Article 370. Addressing the nation this evening, the Prime Minister said, the dream of Sardar Patel, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Dr Shayam Prasad Mookerjee, Atal Bihar Vajpayee and crores of patriots has now been fulfilled.
He said, as a nation, the country has taken a historic decision. The people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladhak were not able to avail benefits of various rights which was a major obstacle in their development. He congratulated people of Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh and the whole nation.
The Prime Minister said, when some things are there forever, it is presumed that they will never change or go away and Article 370 was something similar. He said, no one was discussing the harm inflicted due to Article 370 on the people of Jammu and Kashmir and nobody could tell the benefits it was providing to the people of this region.
Mr Modi said, in other states of the country, the Minority Act is in force to protect the interests of minorities, but this was not the case in Jammu and Kashmir. He said, likewise, the Minimum Wages Act is in force to protect the interests of workers in other states, but in Jammu and Kashmir it was available only on paper.
The Prime Minister stated that sanitation workers come under the sanitation worker act in other states, but workers from Jammu and Kashmir were deprived of it. In many states, strong laws are their to stop atrocities against Dalits, but this was not the case in Jammu and Kashmir.
Mr Modi said, in the new system, it will be the priority of the central government that the employees of the state, the Jammu and Kashmir police, get equal facilities at par with the employees of the other Union Territories and the police.
The Prime Minister said the process of filling the vacant posts of centre and state in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will be started soon which will provide employment opportunities to the local youth. He said Center’s public sector units and private sector companies will also be encouraged to provide jobs. He said, in the last three decades, around 42000 people have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Prime Minister said the government has tried to bring a new work culture and transparency in the Jammu and Kashmir administration. He said IIT, IIM, AIIMS, all irrigation projects, all power projects and the Anti Corruption Bureau are the results of this effort.
He said, through the new system, the region Jammu and Kashmir will be freed from terrorism and separatism. He said Jammu and Kashmir will be taken to a new height of development.
Quotes from PM address
The people of Jammu and Kashmir and those of Ladakh were being denied their rights. But a new era has now dawned on Jammu and Kashmir. Now every citizen in the country has equal rights and responsibilities.
There are times when things become stagnant and they don’t change. Articles 370 and 35A were harming the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and they were being used as a tool by Pakistan. Nearly 42,000 innocents died in the last 30 years.
Jammu and Kashmir didn’t develop at the pace it rightly deserved, but its people will have a brighter future now. The parliament used to pass laws that benefit the people, but Jammu and Kashmir could not benefit from them because of Article 370.
The 1.5 crore people of Jammu and Kashmir did not even benefit from education laws drafted for the entire nation. Children in Jammu and Kashmir didn’t even get the right to education. What was their crime?
There are laws to prevent atrocities against Dalits, but they couldn’t help Jammu and Kashmir. There are laws to protect minorities, but none in Jammu and Kashmir. Workers there never got their guarantees and rights. But things will get better now that Articles 370 and 35A are history.
I don’t think there will be a need to keep Jammu and Kashmir as a union territory for long, although the status will be retained for Ladakh. Jammu and Kashmir will touch new heights of development and attract people from the world over.
I urge businesses to come forward to develop the region, because we need to take its products across the world. Ladakh has a huge potential for eco and religious tourism, and it can also be a solar power hub.
Many policemen and officers have died over the years. They all dreamed of a better Jammu and Kashmir. We have to work to achieve their dreams. I thank and congratulate the security forces, the police and the administration for everything they have done.
The situation will normalise soon, and the difficulties will reduce correspondingly. You will continue to have MLAs, you will continue to have a cabinet, you will continue to have a Chief Minister. The only thing you won’t have is terrorism.
Some people opposed the government’s move, and I respect their opposition. That is essential in a democracy. But I urge them to act in the nation’s interests, and help the government in creating a new environment of peace and development in the region.