Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said a handful of “misled people” are harming the great traditions of Kashmir and urged its youth to help make the state a “paradise”.
Addressing a public meeting here, Modi also appealed for peace in the Kashmir Valley, saying his government was looking for developmental solutions to people’s problems.
“A handful of people, who have been mislead, are harming the great traditions of Kashmir. I call upon the youth of Kashmir to move forward with the dream of making Kashmir a paradise,” Modi said.
Modi chose to speak on the troubles in the valley publicly for the first time during the launch the “70 Saal Azadi, Yaad Karo Kurbani” celebrations at the birthplace of freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad.
“Kashmir wants peace. Whatever Kashmiris want for betterment of their livelihood, the centre will provide,” the Prime Minister said.
The Kashmir Valley has been engulfed by violent unrest since the July 8 killing of a rebel commander, leaving over 55 people dead and thousands injured.
Talking about stone pelting incidents in Kashmir, Modi said: “The children or youths in whose hands there should be laptop, book, volleyball or cricket bat, who should have dreams in their hearts, such innocent (youths) are given stones to pelt.
“This can allow some people to do their politics but what will happen to these innocent youths? Be it the Jammu and Kashmir government under Mehboobaji or the central government, we are finding solutions to all problems through development. But some people want destruction there,” he said.
The Prime Minister said every Indian loves Kashmir and desires to go there.
“Kashmir wants peace. The citizens of Kashmir want to earn more money through tourism. We want to ensure jobs for youths of Kashmir.”
Modi thanked all the political parties for speaking in one voice over the Kashmir issue.
The Prime Minister paid floral tributes at Chandrashekhar Azad’s birthplace and visited an exhibition related to the life of the freedom fighter who shot himself dead in an Allahabad park to avoid capture.
Modi invoked former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee whose doctrine of ‘insaniyat (humanity), jamhuriyat (democracy) and Kashmiriyat’ had succeeded in bridging the divide between the Valley and India more than a decade ago.
“We are the people who walk the path that Atal Bihari Vajpayee took when it comes to Kashmir. My government believes in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s mantra,” Modi said.
On Monday, in her meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had asked the Centre to remember Vajpayee as the government faced allegations of high-handedness by the security forces in Kashmir.
Appealing for peace in the Valley, Modi said his government was looking for developmental solutions to people’s problems. “Be it the Jammu and Kashmir government under Mehboobaji or the central government, we are finding solution to all problems through development,” he said.