Jammu: Union Home Minister Amit Shah Sunday said the "discriminatory" Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was scrapped because of personal efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fulfil the dream of Jana Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee.
In his first public rally in J&K after the August 2019 revocation of its special status, Shah said Modi restored the grassroots democracy and started a new phase of development in J&K where lakhs of people faced injustice under the garb of Article 370.
"After a long gap, I have come to meet my brothers and sisters in Jammu. I was a bit tense because of the inclement weather and was not sure of meeting you. But by the blessings of the Mata Vaishno Devi, the sun came out and we came together," the home minister said at a public rally here.
Heavy rains on Saturday had cast a shadow over Shah's scheduled public meeting. However, an improvement in the weather allowed the rally to go through and it was attended by thousands of people who raised high pitch pro-BJP slogans.
"Today is the birth anniversary of Pandit Prem Nath Dogra, a leader from J&K who worked for the total integration of the state with India along with Mookerjee by raising the slogan of 'ek nishan, ek vidhan and ek-pradhan'," the home minister said.
"On August 5, 2019, the Modi-led government took a historic decision and revoked the discriminatory article 370 paving the way for the development of lakhs of people of J&K who have faced injustice over the years," he said.
"It was our dream, the dream of Mookerjee and Dogra and we are happy that this dream was fulfilled in our lifetime and it was only possible because of Modi," Shah said.
He said the credit for setting up grassroots level democracy in J&K for the first time in 70 years goes to the BJP which conducted a successful panchayat, block and district development council polls along with urban local body elections.
"Anyone can become a minister and even the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. The pahadis were being used as a vote bank but not given due representation. Now even their representative stands a chance to be the chief minister," he said.
He said that with the revocation of the controversial article, the people who have suffered immensely and faced injustice have been given their due rights.
"Now the Sikhs, Mahajans, Khatris and others have got the right to buy and sell land. West Pakistani refugees, Gorkhas, Valmikis got the citizenship rights and various other communities including Gujjars and Pahadis who were deprived of reservation rights and benefits of forests act got the benefits guaranteed by the constitution," he said, adding the women also got their rights back with the abrogation of the Article 370.
Various central laws were implemented in Jammu and Kashmir as the focus of the BJP government is to ensure development and prosperity of every citizen of the union Territory, he said. "Efforts are on to ensure gas connection to every household along with electricity and water tap connections."
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