Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the crucial meeting with Jammu and Kashmir regional parties said he wanted to remove “dil and dilli ki doori” from the region at the earliest, according to sources.
In an open discussion that revolved around building a better future for Kashmir, sources said that the PM patiently heard out suggestions and inputs from all participants.
The sources said the PM had expressed happiness at all participants sharing their honest views.
The main focus of the meeting was to strengthen the democratic process in J&K, which the Prime Minister expressed full commitment towards, the sources said.
Modi said holding assembly elections as successfully as the DDC elections were conducted was a priority.
It was discussed in the meeting that elections could happen soon after delimitation, the sources said, adding that most participants were willing towards the idea.
The PM emphasised the need to strengthen democracy at the grassroots level as well, and to work together with the people of J&K to ensure their upliftment.
According to the sources, Modi expressed happiness on the commitment to the Constitution and democracy espoused by all participants.
However, he expressed grave sadness on conflict persisting in the region, saying that even one death in J&K was painful and that it was their collective duty to protect the younger generation.
Talking about employment opportunities in J&K, the PM stressed on giving out more jobs to the youth in the region, and that they would give back “lots to the country”.
The development achieved by J&K was discussed in detail, through the implementation of many pro-people initiatives.
The PM expressed satisfaction with the acceleration of development in Jammu & Kashmir and said that it is creating new hope and aspirations among the people, the sources said.
He added that when people experienced corruption-free governance, it inspired trust among the people, who in turn also extend their co-operation to the administration; a thing visible in the region today.
The Prime Minister acknowledged political differences but said that everyone should work in national interest so that ultimately, the people of J&K benefitted.
He also said that an atmosphere of safety and security needed to be ensured for all sections of society in J&K.
Meanwhile, former J&K deputy CM Nirmal Singh said that on the issue of article 370, the PM said the parties should work within the constitutional framework.
Singh said that the PM assured a committee to secure the release of political prisoners, when the issue was raised by the Gupkar Alliance parties. Union Home Minister Amit shah presented data on the issue in the meeting, and said only a dozen prisoners were still in custody.