No threat to identity of Kashmiris, Guv assures people

Satya Pal Malik (C), governor of Jammu and Kashmir state, salutes during a ceremony to celebrate India's 73rd Independence Day, which marks the end of British colonial rule, in Srinagar on August 15, 2019. (Photo by STR / AFP)

 Assuring people of Jammu and Kashmir that their identity was neither at stake nor was it being tampered with, governor Satya Pal Malik on Thursday said the changes brought out by the Center are not just historic but have opened a new vista of development for people of the state. 

“The Constitution of India allows many regional identities to thrive and prosper.  Therefore, no one should get worried that their identity will be lost with the measures taken by the Union government,” he said during his Independence Day speech at SK Cricket Stadium here.

The governor’s assertions were in response to the apprehensions of people of Kashmir that abrogation of special status of J&K will pave way for change in the demography of the only Muslim-majority state of the country.

“For the past 70 years, the common people of the State have been distracted on the core issues of economic development, peace and prosperity. Rather than focus on these, people have been misled about issues which are not material to their lives. It is amazing that whether it is an election or otherwise, the public discourse never focused on issues of ‘Roti, Kapada aur Makaan’,” Malik said.

With these changes (abrogation of Article 370), he said, the veil has been removed. “This will speed up economic growth and prosperity, promote good governance, usher in self-sufficiency, provide enhanced job opportunities and more importantly, bring a feeling of belonging and oneness amongst the residents of Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of the country,” Malik added.

On militancy in Kashmir, the governor reiterated government’s zero-tolerance policy towards militants. “Our security forces are taking proactive action against militants, who are carrying out isolated attacks at the behest of their handlers across the border. They have lost the battle,” he said. 

National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval, who has been camping in Kashmir since August 5 when Article 370 was revoked, was also present at the main Independence Day function in Srinagar. However, this was after a long time that no former chief minister and legislator was present at the I-Day function, as most of them have either been put under arrest or house arrest.

Multi-layer security arrangements had been put in place in and around the Stadium with drones and helicopters keeping an eye on the movement of people.

Meanwhile, restrictions and information blockade continued for the 11th consecutive day in Kashmir on Thursday.

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