Editorial: J&K Back In Mainstream

Editorial: J&K Back In Mainstream

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Sunday, April 14, 2024, 08:57 PM IST
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Representative Pic | File Photo

The Prime Minister’s assurance that statehood of Jammu and Kashmir would be restored soon and “the day is not far” when Assembly will be held there ought to be welcome. J&K had lost its special status in October 2019 when it was divided into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh. Addressing an election rally last Friday in Udhampur in support of the BJP candidate and central minister Dr Jitendra Singh and Jugal Kishore Sharma, the BJP candidate from Jammu constituency, PM Modi said in the last ten years development had replaced militancy. Article 370 was now history. A wall was created around J&K, neither allowing the people of the State to look outside nor allowing people outside to look at J&K. Not only was that wall demolished, even its debris was buried. He challenged the Opposition, especially the Congress Party, to restore Article 370. J&K was safe for its people, for the armed forces who no longer have to fear stone attacks. Construction of AIIMS, IITs, IIMs, modern tunnels, wider roads etc., was just the beginning. Large industries and start-ups, from home and abroad, and greater number of tourists are set to flow into the region.

Meanwhile, speaking about Kashmir on the same day at an election rally in Lucknow, Home Minister Amit Shah criticised Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge for questioning why the PM talked about Kashmir at rallies in other parts of the State. “Why shouldn’t he do it? Isn’t Kashmir part of India,” Shah asked rhetorically. He said that Kashmir has been fully united with India and there was no question of anyone restoring Article 370. Tricolour was flying in Kashmir with pride. Meanwhile, the Election Commission ought to be complimented for making it easier for thousands of migrants from Kashmir to vote in the Lok Sabha polls without having to mandatorily fill Form M before every parliamentary and Assembly poll. Displaced people from the Valley can exercise their franchise by self-attesting the form and vote wherever they are living.

Given that incidence of terrorist attacks and stone-throwing on the security forces have drastically come down in the last couple of years, given that tourism is now once again becoming the main revenue generator for the people of Kashmir, the restoration of statehood of J&K would help normalise the situation there. Tough security measures coupled with the near collapse of the terrorist training and planning apparatus by Pakistan’s ISI for attacks in J&K have virtually vanquished the threat of militancy in the Valley. The Kashmir-centric political parties too seem to have fallen in line, ready to accept the new arrangement. The National Conference and PDP of Mehbooba Mufti are taking part in the on-going parliamentary poll. It augurs well for the return of normalcy in the long trouble-torn region for the people and its politicians to join the mainstream political and socio-economic life without seeking special status and divisive boundaries. The long-cherished goal of full integration of Kashmiris with the rest of the country is now a reality.

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