NEW DELHI – Maintaining that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir has considerably improved after scrapping of Article 370, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday rubbished opposition members’ contention that the decision was taken in haste without a discussion.
Speaking in support of the Presidents’ speech during the Motion of Thanks in Rajya Sabha, the PM said that the decisions on Jammu and Kashmir had been taken only after extensive discussions in Parliament. He also refuted the opposition members’ contention that the decision on Article 370 had been rushed through without a discussion.
“Immediately after Article 370 was revoked, the underprivileged people in the new Union Territory could avail the benefits of reservation,” he said
During his speech, Modi reminded the members of the way in which Telangana formation Bill was hurriedly pushed through in Parliament during the UPA regime in 2014.
“Nobody can forget when Telangana was formed, the country has seen how doors were closed and TV cameras were shut” he said.
Replying to a debate on Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address in Lok Sabha, PM Modi slammed the statements of three detained chief ministers of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir who had said that abrogation of provisions of Article 370 will separate Kashmir from India.
“Who made Kashmir only about land grabbing? Who made Kashmir’s identity only about bombs and guns? Can anyone forget that dark night of January? In reality, Kashmiri identity is closely linked with harmony,” Modi said.
He said Kashmir’s identity was buried on January 19, 1990 when Kashmiri Pandits started leaving the valley due to militancy.
The prime minister said statements made by former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah on the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 are not acceptable.
“Many said that Kashmir will be on fire if Article 370 is removed. Many are questioning us for detaining some political leaders. On August 5, Mehbooba Mufti said that India had betrayed Kashmir and we would have been better with deciding otherwise in 1947. Can we accept such people? PM said.
“Omar Abdullah said that removing Article 370 will separate Kashmir from India. Farooq Abdullah said that if Article 370 is removed then no one will unfurl the national flag in Kashmir. How can we side with them,” he asked.
Modi said such statements made by the former chief ministers were unacceptable.
“These are leaders who don’t trust Kashmiri people that is why they used such language. But we trusted Kashmiris and abrogated Article 370,” he said.
The prime minister said Kashmir is the crown jewel of India and his government has faith in the people of the valley where development measures are being taken.
“The abrogation of Article 370 has led to the complete integration of Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of the country,” he said.
He said the real identity of Jammu and Kashmir is its egalitarian attitude towards all faiths and its Sufi tradition, and added that the region cannot be left behind.
The prime minister said the restrictions imposed in the Union Territory are being removed and union ministers are going to various of parts of the region, getting direct feedback from the people. The government would definitely act upon the feedback, he said.
Modi said his government is committed to work for the welfare of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and for its all round development.
He said Ladakh would be developed as a carbon neutral Union Territory.
Move Beyond Rhetoric: PDP tells PM
Asserting that all sections of society in Jammu & Kashmir were today feeling betrayed, the People’s Democratic Party on Thursday said that the Centre must move beyond rhetoric and allow democratic and political process to resume in the new Union Territory.
“The affirmation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Jammu & Kashmir is crown jewel of India and the people here have strong faith in Bharatiya Janata Party is contrary to the situation on ground and the figures provided by the government itself present a depressing picture,” former legislator and party spokesperson Firdous Tak said.
“As per official figures 444 people have been detained under draconian Public Safety Act, across Jammu & Kashmir post-August 5, besides those who have been illegally kept under detention just for having a contrary opinion over the government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 and downgrading the state to a Union Territory,” Tak said adding that illegal and unjustified detention of three former Chief Ministers and former legislators “itself amounts to coercion”.
He said that when the Prime Minister recalls the statements made by the former chief minister regarding special status of Jammu & Kashmir, he failed to mention the sacrifice leaders and workers from mainstream political parties have made for the country.
“Today the same people who sworn oath of constitution and serve the nation are being questioned and targeted”, he said adding that be it unemployed youth, government employees, business community, traders, transporters or any section of the society, everyone is feeling the pain of losing statehood and special identity.
“The BJP’s ‘Jinn’ of development is yet to come out of the bottle and instead everything which the people of Jammu & Kashmir so proudly owned is being snatched under a planned conspiracy,” he said adding that the void between administration and general masses has widened.
He said that instead of rhetoric the Union government must restore democracy and allow political process to be resumed in Jammu & Kashmir. “There was no alternative to sincere and meaningful political outreach through dialogue and reconciliation”. (With PTI inputs)