NEW DELHI: The day is not far when Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) will be a part of India, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Monday.
The decision to abrogate Article 370 provisions was taken to restore the position of Jammu and Kashmir as it was when handed over by its last ruler Maharaja Hari Singh, he said.
On August 5, the central government ended the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under the article and bifurcated it into Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, which will come into being on October 31.
"The abrogation of Article 370 will benefit the common man of Jammu and Kashmir, ending their exploitation. The day is not far when the PoK will be a part of India," he said at an event to mark the birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh here.
Singh said the day, the provisions that gave special status to the state were abrogated, was a day of redemption, resurgence and rejuvenation.
This day has come due to the long and selfless journey by some people who made untiring efforts in this direction, he said.
The minister said the whole nation is celebrating this decisive move by the Modi government.
"There has been no curfew, no incidence of violence since the decision has been taken. Some restrictions are there to avoid any disturbance by anti-social elements," he said.
Singh said the common man of the Kashmir valley is happy with the decision of the government and this has ended their exploitation.
He said many rules applicable to other parts of the country will now be applicable to Jammu and Kashmir, specially rules concerning central government employees.
Singh said Maharaja Hari Singh was a true patriot and a visionary. History needs to be kind to him and his contribution needs to be seen in the right perspective, he said.
Maharaja Hari Singh has been denied the right place in history. Now, the dream of the Maharaja is fulfilled with this bold decision of the government, he said.
The last ruler of Jammu and Kashmir will be remembered for his agricultural reforms and making primary education compulsory in 1930, Singh said.
The Maharaja won the confidence of the people of the Kashmir Valley, due to his effective handling of the acute food shortage in 1921-22 and he also took many steps to remove gender-biased practices, the minister said.