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Independence Day 2016

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          On the auspicious occasion of our Independence Day I pay homage to our great leaders who carried out a prolonged struggle to liberate India from the colonial yoke and convey my warm greetings and good wishes to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

2.       I am deeply saddened by the continuing disturbances in the Valley in the past several weeks which have led to several dozen young men, and even women and children, getting killed and seriously injured. Daily incidents of stone-pelting and recurring attacks by protesting groups on the uniformed forces and their establishments have left thousands of civilians and Security Forces personnel seriously injured.

 

3.       While there may be varied explanations for the continuing disturbances it is distressing that pre-occupation with the past has paralyzed our enormous responsibility to look after, educate and groom our bright youth and enable them to compete and succeed in every walk of life to emerge as future leaders who would take the State to its rightful place in the country.

 

4.       For the past several years I have been repeatedly appealing that we must not allow any arising problem to adversely affect the educational schedules of our children. It is indeed most unfortunate that the recurring calls for shutdowns, day to day protests and agitations have led to the complete disruption of the educational system. The closure of schools, colleges and universities and disruption of the academic schedules has caused irreparable damage to the career prospects of bright boys and girls who are pursuing different educational courses.

 

5.       It is most urgently necessary for the Government and the leaders of the civil society to ensure that all educational institutions reopen immediately. Despite varied constraints in the recent years, our boys and girls have been doing extremely well even in the toughest all India competitive examinations. It is the bounden duty of the State to ensure that our students do not face any kind of disadvantage which may adversely affect the successful pursuit of their goals and aspirations.

 

6.       The continuing disturbances have also disrupted all business, trade and economic activities, particularly affecting the livelihoods of those who earn their bread on daily basis. The functioning of the administrative apparatus and the public delivery systems have also been adversely affected and this situation is retarding the timely implementation of growth and development projects.

 

7.       Our liberal democratic framework allows unfettered opportunity for the pursuit of widely diverging ideologies. Side by side, our pluralistic foundations encourage and enable the resolution of all manner of differences through dialogues and discussions instead of through confrontations and violence.

 

8.       I urge the leaders of all the mainstream political parties in the State to urgently join hands, evolve an agreed approach and commence a purposeful dialogue with all groups which propagate divergent approaches. Side by side, it is of vital importance that all civil society groups also join ranks and give a loud and clear call to all those who are involved in the continuing agitations, as well as to all others who support their cause, and launch all possible initiatives to make the latter recognise that the vicious cycle of the ongoing violence has caused enough death and destruction and must cease forthwith.

 

9.       While the restoration of peace and normalcy should be our first and most immediate priority, I would yet again urge the leaders of all the mainstream political parties in the State to ensure that there is no delay in commencing a purposeful dialogue to vigorously pursue a sustained political initiative in Jammu and Kashmir, with the support of New Delhi as has already been assured. The political leadership faces a momentous challenge of taking every required initiative to reach out and win the hearts and minds of our youth. This endeavour must be very strongly supported by the entire administrative machinery in the State.

 

10.     In the centuries past, Jammu and Kashmir has been known for its high traditions of communal harmony, secularism and pluralistic belief. Today, it should be our collective endeavour to take all required steps to revive and protect the composite identity of the State. The political leadership would also need to take varied initiativesto progressively strengthen communal harmony among the people of all the regions of the State, based on the principles of mutual respect and accommodation ofeach others sensitivities, concerns and beliefs.

 

11.     To achieve peace, progress and prosperity, it is imperative that the leaders of all political, social, cultural and religious organisations, and all other stakeholders in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, urgently join hands and work most closely together to restore and preserve harmony in the State. They shall also need to work unitedly to see that the State achieves speedy progress and early secures its rightful place at the vanguard of the nation.

 

12.     The very significant increase in the attempts at the cross LoC infiltration in the past year point to the unceasing attempts of our western neighbour to perpetrateterrorism and create chaos to rupture the established order in the State. It is, therefore, necessary for our Security Forces to maintain eternal vigilance on the borders.

 

13.     I take this opportunity of paying homage to all the brave officers and men of the State Police, Central Armed Police Forces and Army who have sacrificed their lives to safeguard the territorial integrity of our country.

 

14.     I would conclude by conveying my greetings to Chief Minister Ms Mehbooba Mufti, her Council of Ministers, and to the people of Jammu and Kashmirand wish early restoration of sustained peace, normalcy and prosperity in all parts of the State. 

JAI HIND