Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday said the delimitation process is underway in Jammu and Kashmir and the government will hold the assembly elections in the Valley as soon as it gets completed. “India is committed to holding assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir once the delimitation exercise is complete,” PM Modi said while delivering his speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the occasion of 74th Independence Day.
Highlighting the journey of Jammu and Kashmir in the last one year since the abrogation of special status to the Valley under Article 370, the Prime Minister said, “It was a year of a new development journey for Jammu and Kashmir. This one year is the year of the rights received by the women and the Dalits in Jammu and Kashmir. This one year is also the year of a life of dignity for the refugees in Jammu and Kashmir.”
Meanwhile, in a strong message to Pakistan and China, without taking names of either country, PM Modi said those who challenge India’s sovereignty, be it LoC or LAC, have been given a befitting reply in their own language and that the world has seen what India can do. “India is capable of tackling the challenges, whether it is terrorism or expansionism. Even amidst all these disasters,” he said, referring to the global pandemic, “there have been ill-attempts to challenge the country’s power on the borders”.
“From LoC to LAC, anyone who has cast eyes on the sovereignty of the country, the country’s forces, our brave soldiers have responded to them in their own language,” he added.
On the eve of Independence Day on Friday, the Jammu and Kashmir administration awarded J&K Police Medals for meritorious services to six police officers. The officers who were awarded are Inspector General of Police (IGP) T Namgiyal, Senior Superintendents of Police Haseeb-ur-Rahman, Swarn Singh Kotwal, Showkat Ahmad Dar, DySP Surinder Kumar Sharma and Inspector Ashiq Hussain Malik, an official spokesman said. The administration has also awarded Jammu and Kashmir Police Medals for Gallantry to 202 police officers and officials, the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, amidst criticism that development was not visible on the ground even a year after the revocation of the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, PM Modi is likely to announce major projects, including high-tech and environment-friendly ‘naya’ Srinagar and ‘naya’ Jammu. According to sources, the Union Ministry of Urban Development and Jammu and Kashmir administration are jointly working on the final blueprint for the projects, with the Prime Minister personally monitoring it.
The plan for the Valley includes a project to restore the old glory of Dal Lake. “The area around Dal Lake is densely populated and its glory has diminished over the years. The threat of pollution and large-scale tourism have made it fragile and caused environmental degradation. Further, there have been encroachments around the Lake. So, the plan will include reducing the heavy burden from the area around it,” a source said.
The Independence Day ceremony at the Red Fort was attended by over 4,000 people, including diplomats, officials and media personnel. Safety protocols were in place for the event, including social distancing and wearing masks.
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