J&K people reaping peace dividend: PM on Article 370

TNN Bureau. Updated: 4/11/2024 2:32:17 AM Front Page

Jammu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday defended the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, saying the move has resulted in a significant decline in terror incidents.
In an interview to Newsweek, the prime minister that organised shutdowns, stone pelting that disrupted normal life in Kashmir, are things of the past. Modi suggested the reporter to visit the Union territory to witness firsthand the “sweeping positive changes happening on the ground”.
Referring to his visit to Srinagar last month, the prime minister said,"For the first time, people have a new hope in their lives. The process of development, good governance and empowerment of the people is to be seen to be believed."
"People are reaping the peace dividend," he said/ The prime minister added that more than 21 million tourists visited J&K last year. He added that sports is being seen as a career path for several youth in the UT. He said that the abrogation of Article 370 resulted in ‘a new dawn’ for Kashmiri women who now have the same rights as male counterparts in terms of inheriting property or transferring property to their children, regardless of their marital status or residency.
On August 5, 2019, the Narendra Modi government abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated the then state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories. On December 11 last year, a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court upheld the decision, directing the holding of elections in the region by September 2024 and the restoration of the statehood at the earliest.
He also said for India, the relationship with China is important and significant.
“It is my belief that we need to urgently address the prolonged situation on our borders so that the abnormality in our bilateral interactions can be put behind us. Stable and peaceful relations between India and China are important for not just our two countries but the entire region and world,” he said.
“I hope and believe that through positive and constructive bilateral engagement at the diplomatic and military levels, we will be able to restore and sustain peace and tranquillity in our borders,” Modi said.
During the wide-ranging interview with the New York-based magazine, the prime minister talked about a host of issues including the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, ties with Pakistan, Quad, Ram temple and democracy, among others.
Asked about ties with Pakistan, Modi said he has congratulated the prime minister of Pakistan on taking over office and asserted that India has always advocated for advancing peace, security and prosperity in the region in an atmosphere free from terror and violence.
On the imprisonment of former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan, Modi said, “I won’t comment on matters internal to Pakistan.”
Talking about China and the Quad grouping, the prime minister said the US, Australia, Japan, India, China are members of many groups.
“We are present in different combinations in different groups. Quad is not aimed against any country. Like many other international groupings, like SCO, BRICS and others, Quad is also a group of like-minded countries working on a shared positive agenda,” he said.
The Quad grouping comprises India, the US, Australia and Japan.
On the significance of the newly-inaugurated Ram temple at Ayodhya, Modi said the name of Shri Ram is imprinted on our national consciousness.
“His (Lord Ram) life has set the contours of thoughts and values in our civilization. His name echoes across the length and breadth of our sacred land. Therefore, during the 11-day special ritual I observed, I made a pilgrimage to the places that carry the footprints of Shri Ram. My journey that took me to various corners of the country showed the revered place Shri Ram holds within each of us,” he said.
“The return of Shri Ram to his birthplace marked a historic moment of unity for the nation. It was a culmination of centuries of perseverance and sacrifice. When I was asked to be part of the ceremony, I knew I would be representing the 1.4 billion people of the country, who have waited patiently for centuries to witness Ram Lalla’s return,” he said.
“During the 11 days leading up to this auspicious event, I carried with me the aspirations of countless devotees, eagerly anticipating this day. The ceremony itself brought the nation together into a celebration, akin to a second Diwali. Every home was illuminated by the light of Ram Jyoti. I see it as a divine blessing that I could experience the consecration ceremony as a representative of 1.4 billion Indians,” he said.
On the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, Modi said his government has an excellent track record of fulfilling promises.
“By the end of the second term, even the most popular governments start losing support. Discontent toward governments has also increased in the last few years in the world. India stands out as an exception, where popular support for our government is increasing,” he asserted.
Hailing India as “the mother of democracy”, Modi said that as the largest democracy in the world, over 600 million people voted in the General Elections in 2019 and in a few months from now, over 970 million eligible voters will exercise their franchise.
“More than one million polling stations would be set up across India. Constantly increasing voter participation is a big certificate for the people’s faith in Indian democracy. A democracy like India is able to move ahead and function only because there is a vibrant feedback mechanism. And our media plays an important role in this regard. We have around 1.5 lakh (150,000) registered media publications and hundreds of news channels,” he said.


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