Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday said people protesting the abrogation of Article 370 are the “usual vested interest groups, political dynasties, those who sympathise with terror”. In an interview, Modi said the decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was taken in the interest of the nation — and not politics.
The government, on August 5, revoked the state’s special status and proposed to bifurcate it into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The resolution to scrap Article 370 was adopted by Parliament, and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill was passed with a two-thirds majority. Apart from the mainstream political parties in the state, the Congress also opposed the resolution and the manner in which it was moved in Rajya Sabha through a Presidential order.
“These are the same people who are used to protesting when it comes to anything that helps common people. There is a project to provide water to people, they will oppose it. There is a railway track being built, they will oppose that. Their heart only beats for Maoists and terrorists who have only bullied common citizens,” PM Modi said.
In his address to the nation on Article 370, Modi had assured the people of Jammu and Kashmir that their representatives will be elected by them alone. “I want to make it clear to my brothers and sisters in Jammu and Kashmir, your representative will be elected by and from among you. The way you had MLAs, the same way you will have MLAs. The way you had Council of Ministers, the same way you will have Council of Ministers. The same way you will have your CM. I have full faith that together under this new order, we will free Jammu and Kashmir from separatism and terrorism,” he said.
PM Modi had then also spoken on the opposition the government move faced in Parliament. “In a democracy, some will have a different opinion. I respect their opinion. We are also replying to their concerns. But I urge them to respect national interest. They should respect national sentiment. We have to work together.”
Underlining that Article 370 had brought no benefit to the state but had only fomented separatism, terrorism, dynasty and corruption, PM Modi had then said it is now “part of history” and an era of development will start in Jammu and Kashmir. He said once normalcy is restored in Kashmir and it is on the path of development, it could be granted full statehood again. He said Ladakh will, however, remain a Union Territory.
The decision of the government to do away with the special status came after the state was placed under a lockdown with security forces imposing prohibitory orders, and communication lines being downed. Senior officials at the Centre and in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) have underlined that it was up to the local authorities to assess the situation and take a decision on lifting restrictions. In Srinagar, the J&K administration said the curbs would be relaxed in parts of the Valley in a phased manner, based on the assessment of local authorities.