For the first time, the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are free with Article 370 gone forever, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, adding that people there now can shape their destinies with their own hands.
In an interview with India Today, PM Modi spoke about the Supreme Court upholding Parliament’s decision to abrogate Article 370, elections in the Valley and ensuring sustained peace in Jammu and Kashmir.
On the Supreme Court upholding the abrogation of Article 370, PM Modi said, “The issue in front of the country is not the Supreme Court bringing legal closure. The people have an issue with the delay in terminating a temporary provision. Despite Nehruji having said in Parliament that “Ghiste ghiste ghis jayega (it would erode and disappear one day)”, for seven decades, the people of Jammu and Kashmir were deprived of their rights, especially women and those from underprivileged communities. With Article 370 gone forever, the people of J&K and Ladakh, for the first time, are free to shape their destinies with their own hands.”
On August 5, 2019, the Modi government struck down Article 370, which granted special autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir. The government also bifurcated the state into two Union territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. On December 11 this year, the Supreme Court five-judge Constitution Bench said the President’s 2019 order to scrap Article 370 was valid.
PM Modi said that the Constitution of India, which protects the rights of socially vulnerable groups, is fully applicable to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The women of Jammu and Kashmir are today emerging in various fields, from sports to entrepreneurship. New industries are opening up. Terrorism has hit record lows while tourism is hitting record highs. International events, such as G20 meetings, have taken place, and the world has witnessed the hospitality and pristine beauty of the region,” said PM Modi.
On what his government is doing to ensure this peace is sustained in Jammu and Kashmir, PM Modi said the Centre has adopted a multi-pronged approach with focus on security, development, investment in infrastructure and human capital and a complete re-engineering of government processes through reforms.
“We are absolutely on the path of ensuring sustainable peace, stability and prosperity for the people of the region by improving their living standards, promoting economic growth and generating employment opportunities,” PM Modi said.
On holding elections in Jammu and Kashmir, PM Modi said, “Jammu and Kashmir is already represented in our Parliament at the national level. At the local level, for the first time, we have been able to take democracy to the grassroots. A three-tier panchayati raj system has been established in the state and 35,000 leaders elected at the grassroots. Why do we underestimate the importance of these elections?”
“Be it democracy, development or dynamism, today the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are seeing all-round progress in every aspect,” he added.