With Article 370 scrapped, troubles of people in Jammu and Kashmir over says PM Modi

Four days after the Central government decided to render redundant Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation justifying the decision, stating that it had been ‘well-thought-through.’ Even as the Valley, now made a union territory, is under lockdown with the unprecedented deployment of troops and an internet shutdown, PM Modi promised them representative democracy. Further, he declared that the decision to revoke Article 370 and Article 35(a) would rid the region of terrorism.

“The troubles of people of Jammu and Kashmir are now over thanks to our efforts. The dream of BR Ambedkar, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and several other patriots is today fulfilled. Whatever issues and harm the people of Jammu and Kashmir were facing due to the Article, no one was talking about it. Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh (now a union territory without a legislature) did not develop the way they had the right to. Now, because of this, Jammu and Kashmir’s and Ladakh’s present will improve and so will the future,” he said.

Expressing hope, the PM also said, “I am sure that together we will free Kashmir from terrorism and separatism. The paradise on earth will once again attract people from around the world,” he declared. He also said that the presence of Article 370 and 35(a) had “not given Kashmir anything except terrorism, dynasty, and corruption.”

Justifying scrapping of Article 370

Presenting the justification for revoking Article 370, a decision that was met with much protest and opposition, the Prime Minister said that a law thus made wouldn’t even apply to a part of the country. However, Article 370 had been India's Constitutional relationship with Jammu and Kashmir. This meant that other articles of the Constitution which give powers to the Union government were implemented in Jammu and Kashmir only with the consent of the state's Constituent Assembly. With mainstream politicians of Jammu and Kashmir, like former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, under arrest in preparation for the move, few political reactions have come forth.

“After a law is made after much debate and discussion the parliament, the law is for the benefit of the people. No one would have thought that a law made such wouldn’t even apply to a part of the country. No prior government could say that the law made for the whole country will apply and benefit the people of Kashmir. People in the country have the right to education, but not the children in Kashmir. What is their fault? The benefits are given to the girl children in the country—  the girls in Kashmir were deprived of that,” he said.

Stating that he respected those who oppose the move, the Prime Minister said, “Centre is trying to answer the questions on those debating the issue. That is part of democracy. But I urge them to keep the nation first.” Further, he added, “A handful of people who want to ruin the situation are there, our Jammu and Kashmir brothers and sisters will patiently answer them.”

Development 

Speaking of the ‘development opportunities’ that Jammu and Kashmir now present, PM Modi said that he would urge the Bollywood, Tollywood and Kollywood film industries to shoot there.

“Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have the potential to be the biggest tourist destinations in the world. We are working towards making that possible. I need the support of all Indians for that,” he said, urging people to take the unique products of these regions to the world.

The Prime Minister also promised jobs to the youth of the Valley and said that the BJP government would encourage private investment. “The schemes that were merely on paper will now be on the ground,” he assured. In the days since Union Home Minister Amit Shah said in the Rajya Sabha that the move was for the development of the region, many have pointed out that Jammu and Kashmir a) is not underdeveloped and b) is not underdeveloped on account of the existence of Article 370. Apart from average annual growth, the state has performed well in indices such as health, gender, and poverty.

Apart from these, PM Modi also promised development in the education, sports and technology sectors.

The Prime Minister’s address, originally scheduled as an All India Radio broadcast at 4 pm was changed to a video address at 8 pm on Thursday.

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