RESOLUTENESS: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation expressing resolve to improve conditions in Kashmir, in New Delhi on Thursday.
Hitavada Delhi Bureau:
“The dream of Syama Prasad Mukherjee, Atal Behari Vajpayee, Sardar Patel and crores of Indians has now been fulfilled”
In a much-awaited address to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Thursday, painted a picture of Kashmir fully-integrated with India. Justifying the historic withdrawal of Article 370 of the Constitution of India in Kashmir, the Prime Minister emphasised that this was one step the people were eagerly waiting for for the past so many years. “Now that we have taken the historic step, we will have the fullest opportunity to make Kashmir a truly integral part of the country,” he stressed. Article 370 was an impediment in genuine progress and development of Jammu and Kashmir as a State. That was one arrangement that Pakistan used as a tool to create trouble in India all the time. In the State dogged by terrorism, as many as 42,000 innocent people lost their lives. “Nobody ever understood why we allowed such an arrangement to continue.
Nobody ever understood why we did not remove an unnatural arrangement and allow flow of development into Kashmir. Now, all the impediments would be erased forever. Kashmir will now have an equal opportunity to make genuine progress,” Narendra Modi said. His face shining in confidence of having taken the most appropriate step, the Prime Minister explained to the nation how the situation in Kashmir would become normal in due course of time. Offering greetings to the nation on the occasion of the ensuing Eid, Narendra Modi said, the Government would leave no stone unturned to protect and preserve the unity and integrity of the nation and safety and security of the people of Kashmir. “Countless people from Kashmir gave their lives to protect India from the enemy.
They deserved a better deal from the nation, and the withdrawal of the Article 370 will offer them the honour due to them. We are proud of all of them”, he said. Modi stated, the nation was witnessing a very critical turn of events in contemporary history. Reaching out to Kashmiris with messages of hope and optimism, Modi assured them of all round development, early and transparent elections and end to terrorism as he defended scrapping of Article 370, which he asserted, has only given separatism, corruption, family rule and used by Pakistan as a tool to spread terror in Jammu and Kashmir. Modi also sought to assuage concerns of the people after his Government bifurcated the State into Union Territories, saying J&K will not remain a UT for long. With the Kashmir Valley reeling under security clampdown, Modi promised that the Government is making all sincere efforts to ensure that the people in the region have no difficulties in celebrating Eid which is on Monday.
“I want to assure friends of J&K that the situation will gradually return to normalcy and their difficulties will ease,” he said, in his nearly 40-minute address. The Prime Minister made a strong defence of scrapping the provisions of Article 370, saying the region’s Special Status offered it nothing but separatism, terrorism, corruption and family rule, while giving a handle to Pakistan to push its divisive agenda. “We all want that in future J&K Assembly elections take place, a new Government is formed, new energetic youths become MLAs, Ministers and Chief Minister. I assure people of J&K that with all honesty and in a transparent atmosphere, you will get an opportunity to elect your representatives soon,” Modi said. Modi also said his Government respects objections of those who are opposed to the decision and was working to address them. He, however, asked them to put national interests supreme and help Government in giving Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh a new direction.
Modi said that it is time that people of Ladakh benefit from the region’s rich biodiversity, while its medicinal plants and herbs get global recognition. “Experts say the plant is a sanjeevani for people living in high altitudes and security personnel deployed in snow clad areas. It maintains the body’s immune system in areas with low oxygen .... Which Indian does not want that it should be sold world over... I have named only one herb. Such herbs are spread all over Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh,” he said. “The dream of Syama Prasad Mukherjee, Atal Behari Vajpayee, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and crores of Indians has now been fulfilled,” he said. The PM also asserted that no one has been able to justify how the Article 370 and Article 35A was benefitting people of J&K. Attacking Pakistan, which has termed India’s move as “unilateral and illegal” and strongly protested by downgrading diplomatic ties, Modi said Pakistan used Article 370 as a “tool to spread terrorism”.
“In last three decades, over 42,000 people lost their lives,” he said. He also said over 1.5 crore people of J&K were being denied benefits of legislations meant for the entire country. Spelling out his Government’s development plans for J&K, he said Government employees including police will soon get benefits on par with employees of other Union Territories and all vacant posts in J&K, and Ladakh will be filled, creating employment opportunities. He also assured people of J&K that they will soon get opportunity to elect their representatives in a transparent way. “As J&K will see more and more development. I do not think it will remain Union Territory for long. Ladakh will remain the UT,” Modi said.