New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday assured a delegation of the newly formed Apni Party that his government will restore the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir "at an early opportunity".
A 24-member delegation of J&K's Apni Party led by its chief Altaf Bukhari met the Prime Minister at his residence in Lok Kalyan Marg here. Modi later tweeted about the interaction, saying, "We had extensive deliberations on issues relating to the development of J&K as well as other good governance related topics." An official statement said the Prime Minister engaged with the delegation on various issues like concerns on demographic changes, delimitation exercise and grant of state domicile.
"Referring to his statement in the Parliament, the Prime Minister underlined that the government will work with all sections of the population to realise the hopes of statehood for Jammu and Kashmir at an early opportunity," the statement said. Party sources told IANS that the Prime Minister had an one hour and forty-minute long interaction with the delegation, assuring them that his government will address all the apprehensions related to domicile rights, education and jobs and business in J&K besides the demand for statehood.
Bukhari said that the Prime Minister assured the delegation that no demographic change will be made in J&K. "He's a man of commitment. His heart beats for the people of J&K. He understands what the people of J&K want. He appreciated when we said that we want the same laws as the rest of the country," he said.
Bukhari described the August 5, 2019 decision to reorganise the state, which resulted in the revocation of its special status, as "a watershed moment in the history of Jammu and Kashmir. He credited the people of J&K and the efforts of the government and the security agencies for maintaining peace following the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A.
The official statement said that the Prime Minister called for public participation in transforming Jammu and Kashmir and emphasised on the importance of an administration that gives voice to the people. "The Prime Minister also noted that the democracy in the region could be strengthened through a fast moving process of political integration," the statement said.
During the interaction, Modi assured the delegation that the government is committed to the economic development of the region through extensive focus on infrastructure development and creating new investment opportunities in sectors such as tourism. He assured full support by the government to resolve all the issues being faced by Jammu & Kashmir.