PM woos Kashmiris, says bullets, abuses no solution

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation from the historic Red Fort on India's 71st Independence Day.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation from the historic Red Fort on India’s 71st Independence Day.

Sending out a significant message, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday said bullets or abuses will not help resolve the problems of Kashmir and a change can take place by embracing all Kashmiris.

In his Independence Day address from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort, he also slammed violence in the name of faith, saying it was “not acceptable” and that communalism and casteism were a “poison” that would do no good to the country.

During his hour-long speech, Modi also asserted that India is capable of tackling any kind of security challenge, be it the sea or borders, a remark that assumes significance in view of the standoff with China in Doklam.

Attired in his trademark half-sleeve ‘kurta’, churidar pajama and Rajasthani headgear, Modi started his speech with a reference to casualties caused by natural calamities in different parts of the country and deaths of children in a state-run hospital in Gorakhopur, saying sympathies of the entire nation are with the affected families.

Addressing the nation for the fourth time from the Red Fort, he also spoke about his three-year-old government’s achievements and the major decisions taken, particularly referring to the GST rollout and demonetisation.

He said national security is a priority for the government and there will be no soft approach towards terrorists or terrorism.

Referring to Kashmir where the situation has been uneasy since last year, the prime minister said, “Na gaali se, na goli se, parivartan hoga gale lagaane se… samasya suljhegi har Kashmiri ko gale lagane se (problems of Kashmir cannot be addressed by either bullets or by abuses. The change can come by embracing all Kashmiris).”

He said only a handful of separatists were resorting to different tactics to create problems in the state but the government is committed to making Kashmir a paradise once again.

Modi said not only the Jammu and Kashmir government but the entire country is with the people of the state in helping them realise their dreams of development.

He said the government is committed to restoring the lost glory of Kashmir and again make it the ‘heaven on earth’.

Modi referred to last year’s surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) and said the world has realised the mettle of India’s security forces.

He said India’s stature in the world is rising and several countries are cooperating with India in fighting the menace of terrorism.

“It is clear that security of our country is our priority. Internal security is our priority. Be it sea or borders, be it cyber or space, India is capable of tackling every security challenge,” he said amidst the standoff with China in Doklam, which he did not refer to directly.

“Our army, our bravehearts, every personnel in uniform and not only the Army, Navy, the IAF, have shown their capability and grit whenever there was a situation. Our heroes never shied away from sacrifices,” he said.

India stands for peace, unity, and harmony, he said, adding “poison” of casteism and communalism will not help the nation.

“Violence in the name of faith is not acceptable in the country,” Modi said while invoking Mahatma Gandhi and Lord Buddha.

“Bharat Jodo” (connect India) should be the slogan like “Bharat chhodo” (Quit India) was during the freedom struggle, he said.