Era of bombings, shootings in J&K done: PM Modi

The Asian Age.  | Yusuf Jameel

India, All India

Launches multiple projects worth Rs 32,500 crore for J&K

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public rally at the Moulana Azad Stadium during which he inaugurated several projects in Jammu and Kashmir, in Jammu, India, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. (AP)

Srinagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday reiterated that Article 370 of the Constitution was the biggest hurdle in the development of Jammu and Kashmir but the BJP government, by removing it, paved the way for the erstwhile state touching new heights of growth and development and becoming a “viksit” (developed) region.

“Article 370 was a wall built to prevent the development of Jammu and Kashmir. The BJP government razed this wall and now we see a new Jammu and Kashmir burgeoning,” he said, while addressing a mammoth public rally at Jammu’s Maulana Azad Stadium. He added: “It is because Article 370 has gone that we are buoyed up to ask the people to take the BJP beyond 370 and the NDA 400 seats this time (in the coming Lok Sabha elections)”.

The Prime Minister said only a day ago, while watching TV, he learned that a movie had been made on Article 370, which was good. “I don’t know what is being shown in that movie, but I hope it will disseminate truthful information about Article 370,” he said.

Asserting that a developed India means a developed J&K, Mr Modi said the people of the erstwhile state -- now split in the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh -- got the assurance of social justice mentioned in the Constitution for the first time after the abrogation of Article 370.

He said: “During my visits abroad I found there is positivity about the development taking place here in J&K post-Article 370 abrogation. The G-20 events held in the region stirred a lot of enthusiasm in the whole world and everyone wants to visit this place.”

He added: “In 2023, more than two crore tourists came to J&K and the number of pilgrims to the Mata Vaishno Devi and Amarnath shrines too has increased manifold in the past one decade. In the next five years, the Kashmir Valley will develop in such a way that the people will forget visiting Switzerland.”

Promising the people of J&K that all their dreams that were “stalled” for over seven decades will come true in the next few years, the PM said that earlier only depressing news would tumble out of J&K, but now the region is developing and moving forward. “For decades, only news about bomb blasts, gunfights and kidnappings would come out of Jammu and Kashmir, disappointing countrymen, but now it is moving forward. I have full faith in you, and we will make a viksit (developed) Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

Taking an indirect dig at the National Conference, People’s Democratic Party and the Congress, which stayed in power in J&K for most of the time after Independence, the Prime Minister said: “Jammu and Kashmir suffered because of dynastic politics for decades. Dynastic politics works only for those who are part of it… they are only concerned about their families, not about your interests, your families. They do not work out any schemes that could help the poor and other needy. The worst sufferers of this selfishness and vested interest are the youth of a place. I am satisfied and happy that Jammu and Kashmir is getting freedom from this dynastic politics.” He expressed his happiness also over the government “reaching to the people’s doorsteps in J&K for the first time”. He added: “Yehi to Modi ki guarantee hai, yehi to kamal (BJP’s logo) ka kamal hai”.  

The Prime Minister launched multiple projects worth over Rs 32,500 crores for J&K and projects worth Rs 13,500 crores for other parts of the country. He asserted: “This is Modi’s guarantee and this will continue.”

Mr. Modi also interacted with the beneficiaries of various government schemes, including two women who were present on the occasion and through video-conferencing with a third woman and two men in far-off Poonch, Pulwama and Bandipore districts.

While speaking to the woman entrepreneur from J&K’s Kishtwar region, he said his dream was to make as many as 30 million women of the country “Lakhpati Didis” (millionaire sisters). “After hearing about your success story, those who while living in airconditioned rooms in Delhi keep slinging mud would be finding it difficult to grasp how someone can become a lakhpathi didi like that,” he said.

While referring to the projects which he either inaugurated or laid the foundation stone for, the PM said it was a remarkable day for J&K as these projects “will propel holistic development of the region”.

 The PM also distributed appointment letters to about 1,500 newly-recruited government employees of J&K -- to two of them, including a girl and a boy, on the spot and to the rest virtually -- as part of the “Viksit Bharat, Viksit Jammu” programme.