Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir would bring about a host of positive changes in the lives of its citizens, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.
In a televised address to the nation days after the decision, Modi said it would mean the protection of Indian laws, industrialization, a boost in tourism and therefore more employment opportunities for youths.
“Article 370 was harming the people and children of Jammu and Kashmir, and their loss was never discussed. This was being used as a tool by Pakistan; nearly 42,000 people died over the last three decades,” he said.
Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed special provisions to enact its own laws under the article. The provision also protected its citizenship law that disallowed outsiders to settle and own land in the territory to protect the demographic character of the region.
By revoking this law on Monday, the Indian government spurred fears in the Muslim-majority region that its demography would be altered. The region has been under a lockdown since and key leaders have been placed under house arrest.
The move also drew strong reaction from Pakistan which downgraded the diplomatic status of India, expelled the Indian high commissioner and suspended bilateral trade.
Modi went on to say that elections in Jammu and Kashmir, which has been without a government for more than a year, will be held soon.
Modi assured the people of Kashmir that they will continue to choose their leaders like before, but the new paradigm change will improve the situation in the state.
He also assured the people that union territory status of the state, in which the central government directly rules, will not be permanent.
“The reason is important to understand. Ever since governor rule has been implemented there, good governance and development has been seen on the ground. The schemes that were once only on paper, have now been implemented,” said Modi.
He also expressed confidence that closer cooperation with the center will help put an end to terrorism and separatism in the region.
In a major announcement, Modi said: “All central and state government posts would be filled in Jammu and Kashmir. This will lead to employment generation; private firms would also be encouraged to generate employment opportunities.”
Jammu and Kashmir, a Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.