Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday strongly defended his government's decision to revoke Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, saying the provision has not given anything except separatism, corruption and family rule to the state, and Pakistan has used it as a tool to spread terrorism.
In his televised address to the nation, Modi hailed his government's decision to revoke the Article as "historic" and said a new era has begun in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
"The dream of Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Sardar Vallabhai Patel and crores of Indians has now been fulfiled," he said.
Asserting that no one has been able to justify how the Article 370 and Article 35A was benefitting people of the state, the Prime Minister said these provisions did not give anything except separatism, corruption, terrorism and family rule.
Attacking Pakistan, which has termed India's move as "unilateral and illegal" and strongly protested by downgrading diplomatic ties, Modi said Pakistan used Article 370 as a "tool to spread terrorism".
"In last three decades, over 42,000 people lost their lives," he said, adding "we will rid J&K of terrorism and separatism under new measures." He also said over 15 million people of J&K were being denied benefits of legislations meant for the entire country.
Spelling out his government's development plans for J&K, he said state government employees including police will soon get benefits on par with employees of other Union Territories and all vacant posts in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh will be filled, creating employment opportunities.
He also assured people of J&K that they will get opportunity to elect their representatives in a transparent way.
"As J&K will see more and more development. I do not think it will remain Union Territory for long. Ladakh will remain the UT," Modi said.
Earlier this week, the Union government revoked Article 370 to withdraw special status to J&K and bifurcated the region into two UTs -Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh. They also got Parliament nod for it.