Modi reaches out to Kashmiris, says will usher in a new era

New Delhi: Three days after the BJP-led government scrapped Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to the people of the State yesterday.

Modi, in the 40-minute televised address, assured that all round development to the people of the State. He further promised early and transparent elections and said that his government would bring an end to terrorism in the State and thus bring in a new era.

He noted that Article 370 that granted the special status to Jammu and Kashmir resulted in separatism, corruption, family rule and Pakistan had used it as a tool to spread terror.

He said Jammu and Kashmir will not remain a Union Territory for long and only Ladakh will remain so.

Modi assured people of the State will soon get opportunity to elect their representatives in a transparent way.

He promised that normalcy will return to the State and the people will able to celebrate Eid without any difficulty.

“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,” he said.

Modi further said removal of Article 370 was a reality, and it was a well thought out decision and  his government is working to address the objections that people have towards the decision. He asked the people to help the government give Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh a new direction.

Referring to Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Modi said the great leaders’ dream has been fulfilled.

“In last three decades, over 42,000 people lost their lives…we will rid J&K of terrorism and separatism under new measures.”

He pointed out that more than 1.5 crore people of the State were being denied benefits of legislations that meant for the entire country. Government employees, such as police, will soon get benefits that are on par with employees of other Union Territories and promised to fill all vacant posts in the State government departments and create employment opportunities.

Modi exhorted the film industry to start shooting films in Jammu and Kashmir again, saying as the situation returns to normal, crews not only from India but abroad too will descend on the picturesque State.

Meanwhile, the BJP hailed Modi’s address to the nation. Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the prime minister shared his vision and commitment for the development of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh region and and urged them “to be a part of this historic journey.”

However, the opposition Congress said Modi’s speech was hardly reassuring for the people and lacked conviction.

NT Bureau