Jammu: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday, while blaming the neighbouring nation for recent spate of targetted killings in Kashmir, reiterated the strong resolve of the government to not to allow a “repeat of forced migration of any community from any part of J&K.”
He was addressing an impressive gathering in a function organised to mark the 200th anniversary of the coronation ceremony of Maharaja Gulab Singh- the first Dogra ruler of undivided J&K, at Hari Niwas Palace here in Jammu before winding up his two-day visit to the Union Territory and flying back to the union capital.
In context with communal tension in the presently curfew-bound Bhaderwah of Doda district, the Defence Minister said, “This is evident that the attempts to spread hatred have gained momentum in the recent past. However, the communal flare-up in Bhaderwah is against the spirit of traditions and culture of J&K.”
He averred that there was “foreign conspiracy” behind the “Kabaili attack in 1947-48 to recent targeted killings” while communal elements here always encouraged radical forces to disturb social fabric in J&K.
“For seventy long years, J&K has suffered the pain of having remained alienated (from the national mainstream). That (malaise) has been cured and rectified. Now this new J&K will soon be self-reliant and will emerge as an enviable model not just in India but across Asia,” the Defence Minister said. Assertion was aimed at justifying the abrogation of Article 370.
“It (J&K) has suffered the travails of migration. We’ll not let it happen again in any situation. The government will not allow another forced migration of any community from any part of J&K,” he said.
He stated that the government, after taking over the reins at the Centre, had done a lot of work for the welfare of migrants in J&K. “In independent India, if any government has dedicated itself to improve the life of refugees and make it better, in all sincerity, it is the present government led by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Rajnath said.
Slamming Pakistan, the Defence Minister, though did not mention its name here yet said, “Our neighbouring nation has played a great role in sowing the seeds of hatred here (in J&K). Right from the Kabaili attack of 1947-48 to recent spate of targeted killings, there has been foreign conspiracy (by the forces) which have not been able to digest a bitter fact as to how India has been marching forward to an enviable status in the comity of nation despite all odds.”
He maintained that the extremist and communal forces always tried to damage social fabric in J&K and encouraged radicals. Such attempts to spread hatred gained momentum in the recent past, he noted with concern while referring to Bhaderwah developments.
The Defence Minister stated that Jammu and Kashmir had always been a multi-cultural society. “When it used to be ruled by the rulers like Maharaja Gulab Singh and Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, Hindu-Muslim, Afghan, Buddhist and several many communities would live here peacefully in perfect harmony,” he said.
He stated as India was celebrating “Amrit Kaal” (75 years) of its independence and every Indian was contributing his or her bit to unite the nation and take it forward to a glorious future, it was a perfect momentous occasion to remember all those legends who integrated this country and J&K.
Counting on the achievements following abrogation of Article 370, he pointed out, “You will be surprised to note that J&K managed an outside investment of only Rs 17,000 Cr in the last seventy years after independence. However after Article 370 abrogation, it bagged a whopping Rs 38,000 Cr investment in the last two years. Panchayati Raj was not implemented here in its true spirit here, we made a move towards strengthening democracy at the Panchayat level by ending Article 370.”
Several laws applicable across the country were not enforced here in J&K. “Even Anti-Corruption Act was not implemented here. Today it has brought a steep decline in corruption here. Valmiki community, deprived of its rights here, was given its due. We gave due respect to Dogri language by according it the status of official language of J&K along with Hindi and Kashmiri. Abrogation of Article 370 has brought revolutionary changes here. We amended laws including Land Laws and ended discrimination being faced by several sections deprived of Permanent State Subject status,” he said.
“Our manifesto for 2019 Lok Sabha election had explicitly promised to abrogate Article 370 after coming to power. I headed the committee which formulated this manifesto. Thus we fulfilled our promise in line with the struggle by our legendary leaders like Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and Pandit Prem Nath Dogra who had launched Praja Parishad which became a national force when Jansangh headed by Mukherjee joined this movement in 1953 in furtherance of their slogan against “Do Vidhan, Do Nishan Aur Do Pradhan.” Prior to it, Dogra rulers ensured that J&K continued to remain integrated with India,” he recalled.
“After accession, had those at the helm of affairs not resorted to discriminatory treatment with J&K, separatist forces would not have been strengthened. Sadly today Pok, Gilgit and Baltistan are under the illegal occupation of Pakistan. I feel miffed at the audacity of Pakistan when it claims those parts which were integrated to J&K by Maharaja Gulab Singh, although it (Pakistan) has no locus standi. During partition, it illegally occupied a large portion of J&K,” the Defence Minister reminisced while paying tributes to Maharaja Gulab Singh, whose coronation as the first ruler of undivided J&K took place in Akhnoor, 200 years ago.