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Modi promises more investment, jobs and pay parity for J&K, Ladakh
Stiff curbs: Security men stop a vehicle for checking in Srinagar on Thursday. Nissar Ahmad The Hindu
Two days after both Houses of Parliament cleared the reading down of Article 370 and the reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir into two separate Union Territories, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a televised address to the nation on Thursday, said it was a historic move and a new beginning for Jammu and Kashmir as well as Ladakh. He also unveiled measures that would follow this change.
Mr. Modi, however, stressed that the Union Territory status for Jammu and Kashmir, from being a full State, was a “temporary” measure and that at some point, statehood would be restored. Ladakh, he added, would remain a Union Territory.
Assembly election soon
He also said that the Assembly election, held in a transparent manner and with a process that had integrity, would take place soon, and that MLAs and the Chief Minister would be from among the people of the Union Territory. “You will choose your representative who will emerge from among you. I have full faith that under this new arrangement, we will destroy terrorism and free Jammu and Kashmir,” Mr. Modi said.
Mr. Modi’s speech, which lasted 39 minutes, began by explaining the imperative for the abrogation of Article 370, which he termed a “weapon used by Pakistan against India and to invoke sentiments among the people.”
“Article 370 and Article 35A had only given terrorism, separatism, nepotism and massive corruption to Jammu and Kashmir. These articles have been used as a weapon by Pakistan,” he said.
Disturbances over the last 30 years, Mr. Modi said, had ended up killing 42,000 innocent people.
The Prime Minster pointed out that while the country took justifiable pride in its democratic process of law-making, many of these laws, including the Right to Education, the Minimum Wages Act and Acts to prevent atrocities on Dalits, were not applicable in the State in the past.
He also pointed out that those who had settled in Jammu and Kashmir after Partition could only vote in the Lok Sabha elections and not in the Assembly or local bodies elections. With the reading down of Articles 370 and 35A, this was now over, he said.
Drunk accused attacked him with iron rod; two arrested, two on the run
Anil Kumar Chaudhary. Special Arrangement
The chairman of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), Anil Kumar Chaudhary, was assaulted in the Hauz Khas area in an alleged case of road rage, the police said on Thursday. Two accused were arrested from the spot while two others managed to flee, said the police, adding that a manhunt has been launched for them.
The incident was reported at 10.30 p.m. on Wednesday when Mr. Chaudhary was returning home from office. His car was hit by another car near Ansal Plaza on August Kranti Marg.
“The car then stopped in front of Mr. Chaudhary’s vehicle, forcing his driver to apply the brakes. When the driver stepped out of the car, the occupants in the other car held him by the neck. To pacify the aggressors, Mr. Chaudhary came out of his car and was also attacked,” said Vijay Kumar, DCP (South).
Rescued by patrol team
Mr. Chaudhary was assaulted with an iron rod and suffered injuries on his head, neck, knees and legs. Two policemen from Defence Colony police station who were patrolling in the area reached the spot after seeing a man being thrashed on the road, Mr. Kumar said.
“Two of the attackers were caught by the policemen while two others managed to flee the spot. The arrested accused have been identified as Lalit, a resident of Dwarka, and Amardeep, from Uttam Nagar, and their car has been impounded. They were in an inebriated state at the time of arrest,” said Mr. Kumar.
A case under Sections 307 and 34 of the IPC has been registered. Reacting to the incident, Mr. Chaudhary said, “I was taken by surprise by this unexpected and violent attack by the assailants. I am confident that the police will probe the matter and book all the culprits.”
A resident of Baramulla in north Kashmir, Sajjad has not heard from his mother for the past week. “Tell them to restore mobile connectivity for only a minute, I just want to tell Ammi I am fine. She could be almost dead without hearing from me,” the 27-year-old hotel employee said. “They say everything is normal in Kashmir. The last time I read a newspaper was five days ago. I do not trust what the Delhi-based television channels are airing. There is no celebration here, we are not happy.”
Sajjad’s sentiments are echoed by a large number of people The Hindu spoke to in Srinagar after the Valley was placed under lockdown on the night of August 4. There is palpable anger at the Centre’s decision to annul Article 370, which gave a special status to Jammu & Kashmir.
Emotions are running high. Just before noon, some men converged at Zero Bridge, one of the arterial roads of the city, smashed vehicles and tried to damage the camera of a television channel.
Bhupen Hazarika and Nanaji Deshmukh given award posthumously
President Ram Nath Kovind confers Bharat Ratna upon former President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday.PTIPTI
Former President of India Pranab Mukherjee, late Bharatiya Jana Sangh ideologue Nanaji Deshmukh and late singer Bhupen Hazarika were on Thursday conferred the Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award.
President Ram Nath Kovind gave the award to his predecessor Mr. Mukherjee, Hazarika’s son Tej, and to Virenderjeet Singh, a close relative of Deshmukh, at a brief ceremony at the Durbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and several Union Ministers were among those who were present at the function.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, former Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Deputy Leader in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma and senior Lok Sabha member Shashi Thaoor were also among the guests.
Soon after receiving the award, the former President went and greeted Mr. Modi and other dignitaries who were seated on the front row. Mr. Mukherjee’s daughter Sharmishta and son Abhijeet also attended the ceremony.
When the awards were announced, Hazarika's son Tej had made a public statement about not accepting the award in protest against the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill that would make it easier for Hindu migrants from Bangladesh to become citizens in Assam. Subsequently, he changed his position and called the award a “great honour” for the family and the people of Assam.