Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday evening (8 August) addressed the nation following the abrogation of Article 370.
Calling it a historic decision, Prime Minister Modi said that the act denied various rights to residents of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh but now they are equal to all other Indian citizens.
He proudly asserted that the dream of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, B R Ambedkar and Atal Bihari Vajpayee has be fulfilled and called it a dawn of a new area.
Prime Minister Modi said that with Article 370 in place there was a perception that the situation would continue as it is without any change. He said that no one talked about the difficulties faced by the locals due to it, or was able to tell how the act was actually beneficial to them.
Prime Minister Modi claimed that only terrorism, separatism and corruption benefited due to the act which was being used by Pakistan in its favour. He also added that 42,000 lives have been lost in the region due to its presence.
He expressed hope that with Article 370 now history, the present of J&K and Ladakh residents would improve and their future will be strengthened.
Prime Minister Modi stressed that over 1.5 crore people in the former state were denied their legal right to avail various welfare schemes pertaining to education, girl child, sanitary workers, minority welfare. He pointed out how the minimum wages act and SC ST reservation would now become applicable to the region.
Prime Minister Modi promised that the Centre would ensure that government employees in J&K and Ladakh would get all employee benefits like LTC, HRA, Education Allowances, Health Schemes available to their compatriots in all other central administrated regions across the country.
“Process to fill all vacant government posts would begin. Private and public enterprises would be incentivised to invest in the state, army para-military would conduct recruitment drives, impact of revenue deficit would be minimised. Refugees from Pakistan living in the state would now get the right to vote, contest elections”, said Prime Minister Modi.
Prime Minister Modi informed that the centre would directly administer J&K in the near future to ensure better impact of good government and development. He claimed that under the current Governor rule ongoing infra, education projects are being speedily implemented, especially the ones languishing for years.
He also assured that the representatives of the J&K people would continue to be chosen among them as all the legislative processes would continue as usual and hoped to free the region from terrorism and separatism.
Prime Minister Modi assured that J&K may be turned back into a state if it continues on the path to progress but added Ladakh would remain an UT.
He said that long pending block development council would be constituted and praised the newly elected Panchayat and local body leaders for doing a great job in ensuring access to electricity, making villages ODF free. He expressed his belief that the leaders would perform even better after Article 370’s abolition.
Prime Minister Modi expressed hope that J&K would shrug off the cobwebs of separatism and would progress with new vigour and hope and appeals to youths to come forward and lead the state.
He pointed out how Kashmir can now become a top tourist destination of the world and appeal to Indian film industries to shoot movies in J&K to promote the region.
He requested corporation to mull over promoting tech industries in the state to provide opportunities to youths of the state. New sport academies, stadiums and sports science apparatus would be established in the state to promote a sporting culture.
Prime Minister Modi stressed on the need to promote indigenous Kashmiri products like saffron, shawls and Ladakh’s organic products to benefit local economy.
While addressing the people of Ladakh Prime Minister Modi stated that their region’s development is the centre’s responsibility. He added that there would be opportunities for all without discrimination. Spiritual, adventure and eco tourism would be promoted in the UT which will be turned into a solar power hub.
Prime Minister Modi acknowledged that while some are in favour of the government decision, some against it. He stated that he respects all parties and the government is trying to address concerns but appealed to the people to keep national interest in mind before expressing their reservations.
He assured that slowly the situation would return back to normal and appealed to the people to be patient. He promised that people of Kashmir would have no difficulties in celebrating Eid. He thanked security personnel, officials stationed in the state for handling the situation with dexterity. He also paid a tribute to war heroes and martyrs hailing from the region.
In his concluding remarks Prime Minister Modi asserted that their goal is to build a peaceful, secure and prosperous Jammu & Kashmir, Laddakh. He appealed to people of the region to come together and build a “New J&K, Laddakh” on the lines of new India.