Addressing the nation at 8 pm on Thursday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the historic decision to abrogate Article 370 had fulfilled the dreams of Sardar Patel, Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and crores of Indians.
Beginning his first address since the decision, Modi said: “The dream was of Sardar Patel, of Babasaheb Ambedkar, of Dr Syama Prasad Mukherjee, of Atal ji and crores of patriots, it is now fulfilled, The New Indian Express reports.
Hailing the beginning of a new era in Jammu Kashmir, PM Modi said the rights and duties of the two new Union territories would be the same as the entire nation now. He said: “As a nation, as a family, you, we, the whole country have taken a historic decision. Such a system, due to which our siblings of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh were deprived of many rights, which was a major hindrance in their development, they have now gone away.”
The Prime Minister claimed that Article 370 was harming the people and children of Jammu and Kashmir, and their loss was never discussed.
Asserting that no one has been able to justify how the Article 370 and Article 35A was benefitting people of the state, the Prime Minister said these provisions did not give anything except separatism, corruption, terrorism and family rule.
Modi said no development could take place in Jammu and Kashmir due to Pakistan’s support for terrorism. “This (Article 370) was being used as tool by Pakistan. 42,000 innocent people were killed,” he said.
Terming the scrapping of Article 370 as the beginning of a new era, he said that laws passed in various states could not be enforced in Jammu and Kashmir until now.
‘Nobody knows the benefit of Article 370’
There was no discussion about the loss of our brothers and sisters in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Surprisingly, if we talk to anyone, no one could even tell what was the benefit of Article 370 in the lives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, Modi said. He said nobody was ever able to tell what advantages did Article 370 provide to people of the state.
‘Situation in Jammu and Kashmir had been normalised’
Some things are normalised to the extent that we accept them. We start believing that nothing will change. So was the case with Article 370. Because of this, the disadvantages that people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh were facing had stopped being discussed, he said.
‘Can help improve tourism in the UTs’
Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh have the potential to be the biggest tourist hub of the world. There was a time when Kashmir was the favourite destination of Bollywood filmmakers, I am confident that in future even international films will be shot there, Modi said.
‘Dalits did not benefit from reservation due to Article 370’
In other states, Dalits have a law to protect them from exploitation but not in Kashmir. For minorities in other states, there is a law but not in Kashmir. There is minimum wage law for workers in other states but was only on paper in Jammu and Kashmir. There is reservation for SC/ST in other states, but not in Kashmir, Modi said.
‘President’s Rule benefited J&K’
The decision to keep Jammu and Kashmir directly under Central administration for a brief period was a well thought over decision. Since Governor rule was implemented in Jammu and Kashmir, state administration has been directly in touch with the Centre due to which the effects of good governance can be seen on ground.
‘Children in J&K didn’t benefit from RTE due to Article 370’
Children in other states have the right to education but those in Jammu and Kashmir remained away from. What is their mistake? Women in other states enjoy rights that women in this part of the country do not get. Safai karmachari Act is implemented in all parts of the country. However, in Kashmir there is no such law, PM Modi said.
‘Sanitation workers suffered due to Article 370’
In different states of the country sanitation workers come under the sanitation worker act, but workers from Jammu and Kashmir were deprived of it, PM Modi said.
PM calls for extensive tourism promotion
In Ladakh, there is a plant known as Solo, which is a boon to those living in high altitudes. It has vast medical properties. Shouldn’t such things be sold worldwide. There are countless such plants and herbal products are all over the region. They will be identified and marketed, people and farmers would directly benefited. Be it the colour of kesar or the taste of kahwa, the sweetness of apples or the juiciness of khubani, be it the Kashmiri shawl or Ladakh’s organic product or herbal medicine, all of this needs to be advertised all over the world, PM Modi said.
PM Modi acknowledges opposition to Article 370 abrogation
There are some people who opposed to the government’s move, I respect their opposition; it is essential in a democracy. The Centre is responding to them (opposition) and we are working to improve things. I urge them to act in the nation’s interest and help the government and nation in creating a new environment in the region, PM Modi said.
‘Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections soon’
I want to make it clear, your representative will be elected by you, your representative will come from amongst you… You will continue to have MLAs, continue to have a Cabinet, you will continue to have a Chief Minister in Jammu and Kashmir, PM Modi assured.
‘Many in Jammu and Kashmir couldn’t vote for or contest local polls for decades’
For decades, lakhs of people in Jammu and Kashmir had the right to vote in Lok Sabha polls but they could neither vote nor contest in Assembly/local polls. These are those who came to India after partition in 1947. Should injustice have continued with them? PM Modi asked.
‘Officials will help people celebrate Eid peacefully’
We are making sure that people in Jammu and Kashmir have no problem in celebrating Eid. Those from Jammu and Kashmir who live elsewhere and want to return to their homes to celebrate the festival, will be helped in it by us, PM Modi said.
‘Come, let us all together, build a new Jammu and Kashmir and new Ladakh with the new India’
PM Modi said, I have complete faith, under this new system, we all will be able to free Jammu and Kashmir of terrorism and separatism.