Reaching out to people of Jammu and Kashmir with a promise of peace, jobs, investments and prosperity and urging the youth to take charge of development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday expressed hope that the region will soon come out of the negative impact of Article 370, which has given them only "separatism, terrorism, family rule and corruption".
In his televised address to the nation, he said the measures were a "historic" decision of the country and told the government's detractors to tune their approach in national interest to work collectively for development of the state without looking at who had voted for or against the legislation.
Describing Jammu and Kashmir as "heaven on earth" and "crown of India", Modi urged people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to "together show to the people of the world how much potential, courage and enthusiasm people of the region have".
"We have to together realise the dream of building a peaceful, secure, prosperous Jammu and Kashmir. Let us together build a new Jammu and Kashmir and a new Ladakh with new India. I have full faith that in the new system, we will collectively rid Jammu and Kashmir from terrorism," he said.
Modi gave an assurance of early Assembly polls and hinted that the decision to make Jammu and Kashmir a Union Territory was not permanent.
"The decision to keep Jammu and Kashmir under direct central rule (as a union territory) is now for some time and was taken after a lot of deliberation," he said in the address, two days after Parliament approved measures to abrogate Article 370 and bifurcate the state into two union territories.
He said Article 370, which gave special powers to Jammu and Kashmir, was used as a weapon by Pakistan to instigate some people against the country, due to which 42,000 innocent people had been killed in three decades.
Modi said people of the state had stood up to the conspiracies of Pakistan to encourage terrorism and separatism and were giving befitting answers to "a handful of people bent on causing disturbance".
"These people having faith in the Indian Constitution have a right to a good life. We are proud of them. I assure them that the situation will return to normal gradually and their trouble will also keep reducing," Modi said in his televised address.
The Prime Minister said when peace will come to this important part of the world, naturally, efforts towards world peace will get strengthened.
Reaching out to the youth, Modi said that "decades of family rule" had denied them an opportunity to provide leadership.
"Now these youth will lead development of Jammu and Kashmir and take it to new heights. I will especially urge the youth, sisters and daughters of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to take charge of development of their areas," he said.
He said Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have the potential to become the biggest tourist destinations in the world. "The atmosphere that is needed, the changes in administration all that is being done but I need the support of all countrymen," he said.
Recalling the sacrifices of people of the state for the country, he gave instances of their bravery in 1965 war, Kargil war and in the fight against terrorism. He also recalled sacrifices of Jammu and Kashmir Police personnel.
With people in Kashmir Valley and some others parts of the state facing restrictions, Modi said the government was taking care that people did not face problems in celebrating Eid-ul-Adha on Monday and it was helping those who wanted to return to Kashmir for the festival.
Referring to panchayat elections held earlier this year, the Prime Minister said that the elected representatives were doing an excellent job and those elected after the "fair and transparent" assembly polls to be held soon will have a similar opportunity.
He said sports will get a boost with academies, stadiums and scientific training and the produce of the state will be marketed globally to help farmers.
Modi said that with the repeal of Article 370 and consequently of Article 35A, the entire country will now have the same laws.
"As a country, as a family, you, I and the entire country have taken a historic decision. A system due to which brothers and sisters of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh were deprived of several rights and which caused an impediment in their progress has been removed, Modi said.
He said the dream of Sardar Patel, B. R. Ambedkar, Syama Prasad Mookerjee and Atal Bihari Vajpayee had been fulfilled.
"Article 370 and Article 35A have given Jammu and Kashmir separatism, terrorism, family rule and corruption. It was used as a weapon by Pakistan to incite some people against the country. Due to it, 42,000 innocent people lost their lives in the last three decades. Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh could not progress at the pace they were entitled to. Now their present will improve and their future will be safe," Modi said.
He said the Centre will give priority to giving the government employees, J-K Police personnel the same benefits as given to employees of other Union Territories.
"There are many such facilities such as LTC, House Rent Allowance, Education Allowance, Health Scheme which most employees do not get," he said.
He said the vacant posts will be filled in both central and local level, recruitment rallies will be held by Army and paramilitary forces and employment opportunities created by the private sector.
The Prime Minister said the vacant posts will be filled in both central and local level, recruitment rallies will be held by Army and paramilitary forces and employment opportunities created by the private sector.
Modi said the government will expand the Pradhan Mantri Scholarship Scheme so that maximum students benefit from it and steps will be taken to reduce the impact of revenue deficit.
Modi said that "good governance and development" was having a greater impact under the President's Rule.
"We have tried to bring a new work culture and transparency in the Jammu and Kashmir administration," he said.
Modi said when Jammu and Kashmir "will again reach new heights of development to attract the world, ease of living will increase among residents, when people will start getting their rights without any impediment, the official machinery will work fast on welfare schemes, I do not think there will a need to continue with the union territory status".
Modi said he will urge the state governor to constitute at the earliest Block Development Councils which had been pending for the past two-three decades. He said once the situation normalises, people from all over the world will come for shooting films and called for creating new job opportunities in fields such as digital communication.
( With inputs from ANI )