Jammu and Kashmir will have political stability and the cycle of governments formed and brought down for vested interests will stop, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today on his government's decision to end special status to the state under Article 370 and split it into two union territories that come into existence from today.
"Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are taking a step towards a new future today," PM Modi said, addressing a gathering in Gujarat's Kevadiya to mark the 144th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the day picked for Jammu and Kashmir's transformation to come into force. Sardar Patel's birth anniversary is celebrated across the country as "National Unity Day" as a tribute to India's first home minister, who led the task of integrating princely states into the union of India after Independence in 1947.
"Article 370 only gave separatism and terrorism to Jammu and Kashmir. It was the only place in the country where Article 370 was present, where in the last three decades, over 40,000 people were killed and several mothers lost their sons due to terrorism. Now this wall of Article 370 has been demolished," said the Prime Minister at the event organized near a giant statue of Sardar Patel.
The government's decisions on Jammu and Kashmir were not to draw new territorial lines on the ground, PM Modi asserted. "We wanted to build a strong link of faith, the sort of faith that even Sardar Patel had dreamed of for Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh," he said.
"Inspired by Sardar Patel, we are focusing on the emotional, economic and constitutional integration of the entire country."
The PM quoted Sardar Patel as saying that if the Jammu and Kashmir issue had been in his hands, a resolution wouldn't have taken so long. "He had warned that unification is the only way out. I dedicate the parliament's decision to Sardar Patel and lay it at his feet," he said.
Speaking on the Block Development Council polls in Jammu and Kashmir last week, PM Modi said Article 370 had been used as an excuse to not hold the polls. "They were recently held for the first time and there was a 98 per cent turnout, which reflects unity."
PM Modi also referred to what he described as decades of alienation felt by the northeastern states. "There was a time when the chasm of mistrust between the northeast and the rest of India was deep. There were serious questions about the physical and emotional connectivity. That is now changing," he said, adding, "the North-East is moving from algaav to lagaav (separatism to attachment)."
In an apparent swipe at Pakistan, PM Modi said those who "cannot win wars against us" are trying to destroy the country's unity. "Unity in diversity is our pride and identity," he said.