J&K to observe new era of progress, prosperity and rights after scrapping article 370; says Modi

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NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that the nation took a historic decision by scrapping article 370 which will ensure equal progress, prosperity and rights and duties for the citizens of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. 
“As a country and as a family we have taken a historic decision. One such arrangement because of which people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh were bereft of various right and which was a big obstacle to their development. That system has been done away with,” he said an address to the nation, two days after Parliament approved abrogation of Art 370 and bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories. Modi also asserted that the decision has amounted to the realisation of dreams of many of the distinguished leaders of the past. 

“The dream of Sardar Patel, B R Ambedkar, Syama Prasad Mukherjee, Atal Ji and crore of people has been realised. A new era has begun in Jammu and Kashmir. Now rights and duties of people of the whole country are the same. I congratulate people of the whole country including residents of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh”, he said. 
The prime minister outlined the drawbacks of Article 370 saying “The harm that Article 370 did to the people and residents of Jammu and Kashmir were never discussed. Astonishingly, no one could ever say as to what benefit Article 370 brought for people of Jammu and Kashmir.” 
Stressing further on the harm that it had caused to the residents of the valley, he added, “Article 370 and 35 (A) gave nothing to Jammu and Kashmir except for extremism, terrorism, dynastic rule and massive corruption. These two provisions were used against the country by Pakistan to incite some people. They used it as a weapon and in the last three decades almost 42,000 innocent people lost their lives. Development of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh couldn’t be done at a pace that it deserves.” 
Earlier on Tuesday, PM Modi had hailed the passage of key bills pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir, and asserted that the move will bring a better tomorrow for people of the Valley, who, he said, will now be free from the shackles of ‘vested interest groups’. 
It was on Tuesday that the Lok Sabha had passed the Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganisation) Bill, 2019 with 370 votes in favour and 70 against it. The parliament also passed the resolution revoking Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir. 
Jammu and Kashmir was stripped of its special status and reconstituted into two Union Territories- Ladakh without legislature and Jammu and Kashmir with legislature.

Narendra Modi assured the people of Jammu and Kashmir that their representatives would emerge from only among them.  “Aapka pratinidhi aap ke hi beech se ayeaga (your representative will be from you only),” he said in his address to the nation. “We all want that in the upcoming time, Assembly elections should be held in Jammu Kashmir, a new government is formed and a new Chief Minister is made. I assure the people of Jammu Kashmir that you will get to elect your representative in a transparent manner,” the Prime Minister said. 
He said the Assembly elections will be conducted in the same transparent manner as the Panchayat elections.  “I will request the Governor to quickly complete the work for the constitution of Block Development Council which is pending for last two-three decades,” said Modi. 
“I have faith that after the abolition of Article 370 when the new Panchayat members get to work in the new system, they will do wonders,” he said.

Narendra Modi said that Article 370 and 35A were used by Pakistan to kill 42,000 people. The contentious laws only helped “terrorism, separatism, nepotism and massive corruption,” he added before a “historical” decision on Jammu and Kashmir could be taken by his government. (ANI)