A new era of normalcy and development has dawned in Jammu and Kashmir due to the changes effected in the last one year, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said on Saturday and expressed the resolve to make peace, progress and social harmony the most integral part of the transformed narrative.
It is a matter of great sorrow that the legacy of cultural syncretism has been eclipsed by the vicious story of sectarianism. But, we want to transform the narrative once again. We want to make development, peace, progress and social harmony the most integral part of the narrative of Jammu and Kashmir, Sinha said in his Independence Day speech at Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium here.
He said that the government is committed to providing a better alternative that stands for development, welfare and social transformation for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and urged the youths to engage in activism that helps the nation to progress.
After the constitutional change enacted in 2019, the central government took not one or two, but historic 50 decisions to transform the face of the region. A new era of normalcy and development has dawned due to the changes effected in the last year; a new journey has been undertaken, the LG said referring to the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35-A in August last year.
Referring to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s doctrine of ‘Insaniyat, Jamhooriyat and Kashmiriyat’, Sinha lamented that humanity conceded defeat to terrorism for decades in Kashmir, democracy suffered at the hands of vested interests and Kashmiriyat was massacred to appease the hatred that ensued.
Youth and student life are defined through activism and youth-power has been the harbinger of all transformations, said Sinha, who took charge on August 7.
“Activism is not a bad thing, but to choose the correct option is of utmost significance. Your activism should be directed at the development of the nation, as this country belongs to none other than you, and you are its future leaders, he said, exorting the youths in Jammu and Kashmir to take advantage of the new opportunities.
The LG said the government has five main guiding principles – to put in place a just and transparent system of governance, a thriving grassroots level democracy, maximizing the reach of government welfare schemes; accelerating economic development and creation of employment.
Sinha said some “wrong decisions” were unfortunately taken after independence which inevitably led to resentment in the hearts of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and distanced them from the rest.
This distancing led to the widening of fissures and cracks. Generation after generation was sacrificed at the altar of hatred. Instead of countless doors that should have opened for the people in independent India, numerous doors closed upon the people, and distances increased, he said.
He, however, said equality and justice are being gradually restored in Jammu and Kashmir.
Sinha said his administration stands by all those who are committed to and strive towards strengthening democracy in Jammu and Kashmir.
Elected representatives of local self-governments, who face threat, are being provided with a Rs 25 lakh life insurance cover. To make policing more effective, the necessary reforms are being undertaken, he said, remarks which come in the backdrop of recent attacks on political workers.
We are committed to providing a better alternative for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. An alternative that stands for development, welfare and social transformation, he added.
The LG said no system of governance can be truly just if even one person is deprived of equal social, political and economic rights.
“The rights of women who marry outside Jammu and Kashmir are now protected.
Refugees from West Pakistan, displaced migrants, pahadi speaking people, Other Backward Classes and safai karmis have finally found long delayed justice. They now possess democratic, employment and property rights.
An unbiased reservation policy is being put in place now in education and employment sectors, he said.
The LG said the full application of 73rd and 74th amendments of the Constitution has laid the ground for a strong grassroots democracy in the UT.
Panchayats and municipalities lay the base for thriving, significant and accountable grassroots democracy. To ensure development, unprecedented energy is being channelized at the ground level through 960 councillors, as well as more than 27,000 sarpanchs and panchs, he said.
He expressed gratitude to J-K police, central paramilitary forces and the jawans of the military, for sacrificing their lives to ensure the integrity and freedom of the nation and ensure that the citizens of the country live a secure and peaceful life.
Sinha said the government aims to create ultra-modern and world-class infrastructure in the UT.
We have to transform Jammu and Kashmir into a world class tourism destination. We have to create a peaceful environment here. I expect the full cooperation and support of people here that we may create a new Jammu and Kashmir, he said.
We are committed to provide a better alternative for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. An alternative that stands for development, welfare and social transformation, he added.
Sinha said it was the dream of Sardar Patel that whole India should not just exist as a political map, but also move forward together at the same time and conquer new milestones of development and progress.
To honour this dream, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced ‘Ek Bharat Shreshta Bharat’ on 31 October 2015, on the eve of National Integration Day.
This programme aims at increasing and encouraging cultural interactions among the different parts of the country, and motivates the people to engage more deeply with cultures other than their own. Under this programme, Jammu and Kashmir has been linked to Tamil Nadu.
I hope and wish that this endeavour to strengthen cultural relations is not restricted to a specific area, rather people of Jammu and Kashmir should forge strong relations with each and every region of the country. It is my strongest and cherished belief that Jammu and Kashmir will immensely contribute to the realization of our dream of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshta Bharat’,” he said.