Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday addressed the nation, speaking about the central government’s decision to revoke the special status for Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate it into two Union Territories. Modi spoke even as communication services remain suspended in the Valley.
The prime minister urged the people of India to join in developing Jammu and Kashmir and freeing it from the clutches of militancy and separatism. Modi said central government schemes will now be accessible by the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
8.38 pm: Modi’s speech ends.
8.37 pm: “I ask the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to show the world what their youth can achieve,” Modi says. “Come, let us create a new Jammu and Kashmir and new Ladakh along with a new India.”
8.36 pm: Modi says many sons and daughters of Kashmir have sacrificed their lives for the country, in past wars with Pakistan. He calls on the people of India to join in developing Jammu and Kashmir and freeing it from the clutches of militancy and separatism.
“Rajouri’s Rukhsana who killed a terrorist and was felicitated, martyr Aurangzeb who was killed by terrorists last year and whose brothers are now serving the nation – the list of such daughters&sons is really long,” Modi says. “Each of them wanted a peaceful Jammu and Kashmir. We have to fulfill their dreams.”
8.35 pm: Modi says that the Centre wishes that the people of Jammu and Kashmir be able to celebrate Eid without any problems. He says the Centre will make all efforts to see that Eid passes peacefully. The prime minister adds that the government is also trying to help those who want to go back to Kashmir for Eid.
“I want to tell everyone, that any problem of people of J&K and Ladakh is also our problem,” he asserts. “We are with them in their happy moments and their sad moments.”
8.33 pm: Modi says it is the people of Jammu and Kashmir who are fighting against Pakistan’s manouevres in the state. “I assure the people of Kashmir that slowly, conditions will return to normal,” he adds.
8.31 pm: Modi says he respects the views of those who are opposed to the scrapping of special status for Jammu and Kashmir. “However, I urge them to keep in mind the interest of the nation, and help the government give Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh a new direction,” he adds. The prime minister calls for unity across the political spectrum to help develop Jammu and Kashmir.
8.30 pm: “After making it a Union territory, development of Jammu and Kashmir is the responsibility of the Centre,” he says. Modi adds that Ladakh can become a prime destination for spiritual tourism and eco-tourism. “Now the innovative spirit of the youth of Ladakh will be promoted.”
8.27 pm: Modi says the products manufactured in Kashmir, such as shawls, need to be promoted all over the world. He says people associated with the export and food processing sectors should come forward to promote their products all over the world.
8.24 pm: Narendra Modi says Kashmir has the capacity to become the biggest tourist destination in the world. “There was a time when Kashmir was the favorite destination of Bollywood film makers,” he says. “I am confident that in future even international films will be shot there.”
8.22 pm: “I fully believe that the people of Jammu and Kashmir will move forward with fresh hopes, dreams and motivation,” Modi says. “I especially urge the youth, the women of Kashmir to take charge of their own development.”
“I have complete faith, under this new system we all will be able to free Jammu and Kashmir of terrorism and separatism,” Modi says.
8.20 pm: Modi says he wishes that elections take place smoothly and in a transparent manner in the state. The prime minister adds that he will ask Governor Satya Pal Malik to constitute block development councils in Jammu and Kashmir as soon as possible. “I am giving assurance that you will get the opportunity to elect your representatives in a transparent way,” he says. “Your representative will be elected by you and from among you.”
8.18 pm: Modi says ease of living in Jammu and Kashmir will now increase, and they will get whatever facilities they deserve. “I do not believe that Jammu and Kashmir will continue to be a union territory then,” he says. “Yes, Ladakh will continue to be a union territory.”
8.15 pm: The prime minister said roads, railways, airports and other projects are now being finished quickly in Jammu and Kashmir. “You will be surprised to know that since decades, there are people who were unable to vote in Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, or contest them,” Modi says. “These are the people who came to India from Pakistan in 1947 after Partition. Should the injustice against these people have continued? I want make it very clear to my brothers and sisters in Kashmir – your representative will come from your state only.”
8.13 pm: Modi says the Jammu and Kashmir administration has been in touch with the Centre since Governor’s Rule was imposed in the state. He claims that this has led to good governance in the state, with long-pending projects being cleared.
8.11 pm: Modi says facilities available to manual labourers throughout the country will be made applicable to the workers in Jammu and Kashmir. “All posts in Jammu and Kashmir will now be filled,” he says referring to government jobs.
8.08 pm: Modi says the provisions which benefited the women of India were not applicable to the women of Jammu and Kashmir. “There was no minority act in Jammu and Kashmir. The Minimum Wages Act, applicable to other parts of the country, was only on paper in Jammu and Kashmir,” he says. “In other regions, the SC/ST Act benefited the marginalised during elections, but this was not applicable in Jammu and Kashmir.”
8.06 pm: “It is unimaginable that the legislature makes laws that do not apply to one part of the country,” Modi says. “Even past governments could not promise that the laws would apply to Jammu and Kashmir.”
“Surprisingly, no one could tell you what was the benefit of Article 370 to the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” Modi adds.
8.04 pm: Modi congratulated the people of the region, and claimed that 42,000 people have died in Jammu and Kashmir due to Article 370.
8.03 pm: Modi says the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh were suffering due to Article 370, but no one was talking about it. He adds that Article 370 was responsible for large-scale corruption and nepotism in Kashmir.
8.01 pm: “We have taken a historic decision,” Modi says. He adds that the problem of development of Jammu and Kashmir will now be solved. “The dream of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Babasaheb Ambedkar and Syama Prasad Mookerjee has now been fulfilled. I wholeheartedly congratulate the people of India.”
7.55 pm: States governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party will pass a resolution to felicitate Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and the Centre for repealing special status to Kashmir, ANI reports.
7.50 pm: The Indian government had earlier in the day asked Pakistan to review its decision to dilute diplomatic ties with India. However, Islamabad said it would review ties with New Delhi if India reconsiders its decision on Kashmir.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had also rubbished India’s assertion that it revoked special status for Jammu and Kashmir to improve the welfare of the people.
7.45 pm: An address to the nation was part of the government’s agenda for Wednesday, according to a photograph of a document Home Minister Amit Shah was carrying on Monday morning. However, it probably got postponed because of the sudden death of Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday night.
The last time Modi had addressed the nation was in March, when he announced that India had shown its anti-satellite missile capabilities by shooting down a live satellite in space as part of an operation called Mission Shakti.
7.42 pm: He is expected to speak about the central government’s decision to revoke the special status for Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate it into two Union Territories. The prime minister had congratulated the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on Tuesday.
7.40 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation shortly.