Jammu, Oct 31 Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh today termed Jammu and Kashmir as the crown of India and said Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had played the biggest role in ensuring the accession of the state to the country. He flagged off the 'Run for Unity' on the 142nd birth anniversary of the first deputy prime minister. "Jammu and Kashmir is the crown of India and this is the message we are giving by participating in the Run for Unity in the state," Singh told reporters here.
Flanked by state Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta and the ministers, he said the run was for re-discovering Patel's legacy to unite the country. "Sardar Patel has the biggest role in ensuring accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India as well as forcing out raiders from the territory and ensuring peace here," Singh said. He said it was a run for the unity of the country. Singh said people were running for this cause across the country which showed that India would become a superpower in the world. He said anyone trying to divide the country would not be spared. He said Patel's commitment to uniting India should be remembered today as it was a rebuff for people who had earlier tried to diminish and make others forget his contribution. "But the people of India respect his contribution towards the building of our nation. We want the youth to carry forward the ideas and commitment of Patel and make it a strong country," he said.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police also organized a separate Run for Unity led by its chief S P Vaid. Vaid said the youth of the country should learn from Sardar's Patel contribution and make the country strong and united. The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly speaker said the state was an integral part of India and no one could snatch it. "The day shows our commitment to it," he said. The 3-km run witnessed the participation of 15,000 to 20,000 people including school children, elders, sportspersons, artists, and politicians.