The recent historic move to revoke the special status to Jammu and Kashmir is a "very important step" towards national integration, Indian envoy to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Thursday.
"This is a very important step towards national integration and one that the people of India have been waiting for 70 odd years," Shringla told members of the Indian American community who had gathered at his official residence India House to celebrate India's Independence Day.
Shringla said the move to revoke Articles 370 and 35A and reorganise Jammu and Kashmir is a "historic" decision.
"Today, I think we are finally able to offer the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the fruits of development that have been denied to them for so many years," he said.
In the past, he said, the Government of India has allocated billions of dollars for the development of Jammu and Kashmir.
"Unfortunately, very little of that money has percolated down to the grassroots levels to the people to whom this money should have reached. Another factor has been that the provisions of the Constitution, Article 370, and 35A which were temporary in nature, also discriminated against certain sections of society in Jammu and Kashmir," he said.
There was discrimination against women, social-economic justice in the form of affirmative action could not be passed on to weaker sections of society, he rued. "All of these things will change," he said.
"Now, there is a historic opportunity to allow the state to reach its full potential, to economically integrate itself with the rest of India and thereby move beyond what our Prime Minister refers to the constraints of Articles 370 and 35A, which only brought to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, secessionism, terrorism, nepotism and corruption," Shringla said in his address on the occasion of Independence Day.
A large number of Indian Americans from in and around Washington DC had gathered at the India House to celebrate Independence Day.
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