On a day that the Upper House of Parliament decided to debate and discuss the ongoing Kashmir violence on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to speak on the issue at a public gathering in Madhya Pradesh, a month after being mum on the issue.
Addressing the crowds, PM Modi reached out to the youth of Kashmir and appealed to them to give up guns.
The entire political class is speaking in one voice on Kashmir and wants peace, and this is the country’s strength, said the Prime Minister while addressing a gathering at freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad’s birthplace in the tribal-dominated Alirajpur in Madhya Pradesh.
PM Modi indicated his willingness to hold dialogue under Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s mantra – the framework of ‘insaniyat (humanity), jamhuriyat (democracy) and Kashmiriyat’.
“When Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister he had adopted the path of insaniyat, jamhuriyat and Kashmiriyat and we walk the same road. I want to tell the brothers and sisters of Kashmir from this great birthplace of Chandra Shekhar Azad that Kashmir has the same strength that has been given to (other parts of) India by our freedom fighters. Kashmir has the same freedom that every Indian feels,” said Modi.
The PM’s outreach comes a day after Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed confidence that the prime minister will initiate a dialogue with the people of J&K to address their problems.
The prime minister said that the Centre along with the Mehbooba Mufti government in Jammu and Kashmir was doing its best to find a solution to all problems.
He wished every Kashmiri youth a bright future even though he deplored the fact that some misguided youth were instigating violence.
“It is painful to see innocent youngsters, who should be holding laptops, books and cricket bats, have been given stones in their hands,” lamented Modi.
He appealed for peace and harmony and asked the youth to keep Kashmir as the “heaven” on earth.
“Indians love Kashmir but there are some elements who are hurting the great tradition of ‘Kashmiriyat’,” warned Modi.
The state has been battling curfew for over 30 days. So far, 55 civilians have died in action by security forces over incessant protests that erupted after the killing of Hizbul terrorist Burhan Wani. Wani was killed by security forces in an encounter on July 8.
(With inputs from PTI)