The decision to abrogate Article 370 was an opportunity to transform Jammu and Kashmir, said J&K former Director General of Police (DGP) S P Vaid at an event in Pune on Monday. Vaid was speaking at the Lalitaditya Memorial Speech organised by the NGO Sarhad in Pune and presided by Madhav Godbole, former Union Home secretary.
“I think this is an opportunity to transform Jammu and Kashmir. People in Ladakh have been celebratory about it and they have welcomed it in Jammu. Kashmir is taking time,” said Vaid. “We can’t let a handful of people hold the population of the valley hostage…,” he added.
Speaking about the situation, Vaid, who served in Kashmir for a long time before opting for voluntary retirement last year, said Pakistan has been inflicting long-lasting damage on Kashmir through social media.
“Pakistan has been using social media to spread anti-India propaganda and instigate the youth of Kashmir. They have also used it openly to recruit militants from the valley. That is why there is a strong need to filter the content that comes from Pakistan,” said Vaid.
He supported the central government’s decision to suspend internet in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370. “It was wise of the government to shut internet in J&K while abolishing Article 370. Of course, banning internet access has adverse effects when it is done long term. But at that time, it was necessary, otherwise there would be many more casualties in Kashmir,” said Vaid.
Speaking on the occasion, Godbole said, “Abrogation of Article 370 is not the end of the Kashmir story. In fact, it’s just the beginning. We need to build a bridge, create emotional bonds with the people of Kashmir. This will be the most important thing to do in the coming months and years.”
“We need to make Kashmiris and everyone aware that, if not for integrating with India, what is the other alternative in front of them,” he said.
“Ask Kashmiris to look at Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK), where people have EXPRESS NEWS SERVICElost their own identities. Kashmiris also need to know what kind of freedom they enjoy because they are in India. Pakistan still does not have a Constitution. We need to discuss this with the Kashmiris, and with all of India,” said Godbole.