Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today called for protecting and strengthening the constitutional position enjoyed by Jammu and Kashmir, saying it provided a sound basis for trust and tolerance between the people of the state and rest of the country. In her message to the people of the state on the eve of Independence Day, she said the position was a result of reciprocity of sentiments of the people of the state and rest of the country following the accession of 1947. “When the situation in the entire sub-continent was very bad, people of the state, by acceding to the union, chose a democratic system based on shared ideals of democracy, tolerance and mutual trust. “The constitutional status enjoyed by J-K in the Union is unparallelled and protecting and strengthening it is our collective responsibility,” Mufti said.
The chief minister said the extensive legislative powers of the state Assembly, which were comparable to none in the country, were exemplified recently during the GST Act formulation. “The House debated the issues and the Presidential Order on the subject also ratified the legislative competence and authority of our assembly,” she said in her address.
The chief minister said it was her firm belief that dialogue always gives the best solution to any problem. “The Agenda of Alliance (common minimum programme between PDP and BJP) of the present government has also declared that dialogue with all stakeholders in the state is the way forward. “Democracy is the battle of ideas and ideas can’t be jailed. A better idea only can defeat another idea,” she said.
Terming Indo-Pak friendship in the best interests of the state, Mufti said it was the people who bore the brunt of bitterness in relations between the two countries. “Due to the recent tension along the Line of Control, hundreds of people living close to the borders had to migrate. Many of them lost their lives, schools in these areas were closed and many of them were rendered homeless,” she said.
She, however, said despite having lost a lot to the violence and uncertainty of the past three decades, people had held high the values and principles the state was known for.
She said the way in which people of the state stood up against the killing of Amarnath yatris was a case example.
Describing youth as hope for the future, Mufti said in her interactions she had seen the dreams of a better future. “A future where there is development, respect, guarantee for identity and definitely peace also. We owe it to them,” she said, appealing for working unitedly to realise the dreams of the future generation.
She said the execution of Rs 80,000 crore Prime Minister’s Development Package had started taking place in the state.
Mufti said the state government had formulated an ambitious plan under which not only the state would be connected to rest of the country through improved road networks but all regions of the state would also be connected to each other. “Recently Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) inaugurated Chennai-Nashri tunnel on Srinagar-Jammu national highway. With the completion of another tunnel at Qazigund, the distance on the highway would greatly decrease, ensuring state’s improved connectivity with rest of the country,” she said.
The chief minister said peace and people’s support were the two crucial components without which the developmental objective could not be achieved.
She credited the youth for their contribution in maintaining peace, saying with further improvement the developmental process in the state would take a bigger push, tourism would pick up leading to more jobs, thus realising the dreams of the youth.