Jammu: Hitting out at BJP Prime Ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for spreading "rumours", Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday called for desisting from giving publicity to his statement on Article 370 and maintained that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India.
Azad was reacting to Modi`s statement advocating debate on Article 370 of the Constitution, that accords a special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
"Wherever he (Modi) goes, he spreads rumours," Azad said, addressing a function in Kathua today.
He said that the leaders of Jammu and Kashmir, while speaking on Modi`s comments every day, were giving him unnecessary publicity.
"There is no need to give him (Modi) publicity," he said, and without mentioning Modi, added that some people had never come to Jammu and Kashmir before, were coming to see it for the first time and making comments.
Pulling up the state`s leaders for wasting their time reacting to Modi`s comments, Azad said Modi had no work to do, whereas "you have a lot of work to be done. Why are you wasting your time?”
The minister said Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and no power on earth can separate it.
"There is a special place in the Constitution of India. It is known to our neighbouring countries as well as the people of the state and others states of the country," he said.
Without naming Pakistani Prime Minsiter Minister Nawaz Sharif, Azad said that people outside the country were also talking just for the sake of giving statements and keeping people happy.
"We should not react to them. We should work for strengthening of our country," he said.
Azad said it was unfortunate that Pakistan was attacking us and killing poor and unarmed people.
"They (Pakistan) have also mislead people of Kashmir, some of whom advocate `azadi` (freedom) and some militancy," he said, adding that it has only resulted in the killing of civilians and soldiers.
"It is our duty to remember and give honour to the martyrs besides carrying forward their mission and boosting spirit of nationalism among the people," Azad said.
Talking about welfare measures of his ministry, Azad said that the Union Health Ministry had launched health schemes for women and new-borns and appealed to Panchs and elected representatives to create awareness about schemes like Janani and Jacha Bacha schemes.
The government of India was extending liberal funding to Jammu and Kashmir to strengthen the health, education and R&B infrastructure, he said.
Azad announced that Union Health Ministry has given nod to provide Rs 45 crore grants each for Jammu and Srinagar Cancer institutes in view of the steep rise in cancer cases in the state.
He said the ministry had formulated a scheme to provide free medical checkups twice a year for every child upto 18 years of age in which all the expenditure on treatment will be borne by the Ministry.
Mobile medical facilities would also be provided to the nomads of the state, he said.