India PM Narendra Modi vows to ‘restore’ Kashmir’s ‘past glory’

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International desk, August 15: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his decision to strip Indian-administered Kashmir of its special status would restore the region to its “past glory”.“We will restore Kashmir’s past glory and it will play an important role in the nation’s development,” he said, BBC reports.

He said Article 370, the constitutional provision that granted it special status, had only encouraged corruption.

Mr Modi did not refer to the lockdown and communications blackout imposed in Kashmir since the decision last week.

He did, however, criticise those who opposed the revocation of Article 370, accusing them of “playing politics”.

Past governments had lacked the courage to take such a bold step because they were worried about their political future, he said.

“I don’t care about my political future. For me, the country’s future comes first.”

Kashmir has been in lockdown for more than a week now, with mobile, landline and internet networks cut off and curfew-like restrictions that ban people from assembling in crowds. However, officials said on Wednesday that these restrictions had now been eased in the Hindu-majority Jammu region.

Despite the security clampdown however, there have been protests against the revocation of Article 370, including one on Friday in Srinagar – the capital of the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley. It involved thousands of people coming out after midday prayers to demonstrate against the move.

Although Kashmir took centre stage, the prime minister also made several other important announcements.

For the first time in the history of independent India, there will be a Chief of Defence Staff that will have authority over all three of India’s armed forces.

He also addressed the problem of single-use plastic, urging people to reduce their usage, and referred to other issues like water shortage, population control and healthcare.