Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday sought to allay apprehensions on the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir by promising early Assembly elections.

Article 370 is now history, said Modi, adding that a new order is in place to eradicate separatism and terrorism.

In a TV address amid heightened security and tensions in J&K, he said “temporary and cautionary measures” have been taken to prevent any untoward fallout of the steps taken to abolish Article 370 and reorganise the State into two Union Territories (UTs).

“We have given...due consideration and thought. Under Governor’s rule, the Centre is in charge and our governance policies and developmental projects are slowly showing signs of picking up momentum,” he said.

“The abolition of Article 370 is a reality. It is also a reality that it is the people of Jammu and Kashmir who are bearing the brunt of the cautionary measures taken to avoid any untoward fallout of this decision,” Modi said.

However, he added, these are only transient measures till free and fair elections are held for the J&K Assembly and peace returns to the troubled region.

Read also: Centre scraps Article 370, bifurcates J&K into two Union Territories

Ladakh, he reiterated, will continue to be a UT with the Centre entirely responsible for its development.

“I want to make it clear to the people of Jammu and Kashmir that your representatives will come from amongst you in the same way as you have so far chosen your MLAs, Chief Ministers and MPs. Under the new order, we will free J&K from the scourge of terrorism and separatism. The Paradise on Earth will be restored to its glory. Ease of living will be ensured and all citizens will get equal rights,” said Modi.

The PM conceded that it was natural in a democracy for some people to disagree with the decision to abolish Article 370 and 35A. However, he said, this was an idea whose time had come.

Access to benefits

He said the people of the State have been deprived the benefits of Right to Education, Minimum Wages Act, statutes ensuring the rights of minorities and scheduled castes and schedules tribes because of Article 370.

The natural corollary of the abolition of Article 370, he said, is the advance of tourism, industrial growth and infrastructural development.

“The festival Eid just a few days away. I want to assure all citizens of J&K that the Centre would ensure the safety and security of every one of our brothers and sisters in the celebration of this festival and uniting the families on this auspicious occasion,” he said.