With the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, the spirit of "One Nation, One Constitution" has become a reality, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday while slamming Congress and other opposition parties for making hue and cry over the issue.
Addressing the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort on 73rd Independence Day, Prime Minister Modi further asked them if the issue was so "life-changing" then why previous governments did not make the special status to the troubled state a "permanent" arrangement?
The Prime Minister said that within 10 weeks of returning to power, his government took key decisions including passing bills on abrogation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir, ban on the practice of Triple Talaq and anti-terror laws to fulfil the aspirations of people.
"During the difficult times of independence, people like Sardar Vallabhai Patel took very tough and valiant decisions. But because of Article 370 there emerged problems. Repeal of Article 370 and Article 35A was a step towards fulfilling Sardar Patel's dream of a strong and united India. The spirit of One Nation, One Constitution has become a reality and India is proud of that," he said.
While affirming that his government believed in solving problems and not prolonging them and removal of Article 370 was its example, Prime Minister Modi said, "Article 370 has become history after both Houses of Parliament supported it with two-third of the members supported this step."
Modi said that "the old arrangement" in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh encouraged corruption, nepotism and there was injustice when it came to rights of women, children, Dalits, tribal communities.
"My Dalit and tribal brothers should get their rights. In all parts of India, they do get the necessary benefits. Sanitation workers in Jammu and Kashmir never got their rights. Now they would be able to avail all the facilities," he said.
Asserting that the move will enable the people of the region to hold the government at the Centre directly accountable, Prime Minister Modi said, "After the partition, when people came to India they faced no problems but those who settled in Jammu and Kashmir could never live in peace. The new system in place is for the direct benefit of the people on the ground. Now anyone living in Jammu and Kashmir can directly question the Centre. He now does not need to go via media."
In a veiled attack on Congress, the Prime Minister said those who supported Article 370 needs to answer that if it was so important why they did not make the Article 370 permanent.
"If this was so important or life-changing, why was this Article not made permanent? After all, those people had huge mandates and could have easily removed its temporary status of Article 370," he said.
The Prime Minister also attacked Pakistan for "supporting and exporting" terrorism and called upon the world fight it jointly.
"Terrorism is an attack on humanity and those who export terrorism must be condemned," he said without taking Pakistan's name.
The Prime Minister said neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka have suffered a lot because of terrorism.
"Those who give protection to terrorism and support it must be exposed. All the countries need to come together to fight terrorism," he said.
Before starting his address, Modi unfurled the national flag at the ramparts of Red Fort and wished citizens of the country on the occasion of 73rd Independence Day and Rakshabandhan.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)